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Book of Martyrs 










Telling How the Bible has been Preserved to us, 
AND Explaining its Principal Revisions 
and Translations. 





U 1 






The records of the past contain little that is of more thrilling interest 
than the stories of Christian Martyrs. Assailed in the early centuries after 
Christ by their pagan foes, and in later years by enemies who professed, 
themselves, to be the followers of a gentle and merciful Saviour—yet who 
seem to have been destitute of human pity or compassion—these brave 
upholders of our faith were imprisoned, tortured, and slain by thousands. 

In an age of religious liberty such as the present, when justice, and 
the freedom, happiness, and well-being of the multitude are jealously 
guarded—when offenders against the laws are subjected to no avoidable 
physical pain, and even science is called upon to provide for the most dan¬ 
gerous of them the least painful of deaths—it is with amazement that we 
read of the barbarous punishments of the past. 

Appalling as some of these accounts of man’s inhumanity to man” 
may be, yet it is only by their preservation that we, who live in happier 
times, can properly appreciate the blessings we enjoy, and be enabled to 
compare our present freedom with the tyranny and injustice of earlier days. 
But a few hundred years ago the most cruel punishments were inflicted, not 
merely upon criminals dangerous to the State, but upon innocent men and 
women, the best and noblest people of their time, whose only offence was 
a refusal to renounce their faith in a religion dearer to them than life. 

The steadfast courage of the Martyrs, when confronted with death in 
terrible forms, almost leads us to believe they could not have been mere 




human creatures, subject to the same fears, having the same love of life, 
affections, and sensibility to pain as ourselves; but another order of beings, 
so formed as to be indifferent to physical suffering and proof against mental 
weakness. But the records of their lives proves this not to be so. Their 
words, their acts, their writings, their often impassioned defence, and affec¬ 
tionate leave-taking of family and friends show them to have been of the 
very same flesh and blood as we of to-day; only differing in being upheld 
by a fiery zeal and fervent faith which grew stronger with persecution, 
defied prisons and tormentors, and shone yet brighter than the flames 
in which their bodies finally perished. 

Histories of the Martyrs have for centuries held a high place in Christian 
literature; for ages works of this kind have been found side by side with 
the sacred writings and books of devotion. Some of the stories in the 
present volume have been drawn from these sources; those telling of 
early persecutions being traditional and from the pens of ancient writers 
about the church, while those of a later period are from Foxe’s Book of Mar¬ 
tyrs. From whatever source taken, however, only such stories have been 
selected as are best adapted for general reading ; they have also, in many 
instances, been re-written for this book. At the same time effort has been 
made to retain in them, as far as possible, the quaint style and graphic 
descriptions which characterize the originals. The stories have also been 
connected together by a brief outline of history, which is intended to 
assist the reader in tracing the progress of Christianity, and the Bible, 
from early times throughout the principal nations of the world. 



1. Christian Martyrs in the Roman Colosseum . . . Frontispiece. 

2. St. Stephen is Stoned to Death. 25 

3. Crucifixion of St. Andrew. 31 ^ 

4. Nero’s Torches... 39 - 

5. Christians are Slain by the Pagans. 49 ^ 

6. Perpetua and Felicitas in the Arena. 69 

7. The Persians Take Antioch and Torture the Christians . 79 % 

8. Martyrdom of St. Lawrence. 87 

9. The Emperor Valerian in the Hands of the Persians ... 93 ^ 

10. ZoE Put to Death for Refusing to Worship Mars. 97 

11. St. Alban Refuses to Kneel to the Statue of Jupiter . . . 101 v 

12. St. Sebastian Shot with Arrows ..107 ^ 



INDEX OF illustrations: 


13. Kui^alia Given to the Soediers.115- 

14. Irene Burned at Thessaeonica . . / .ii9vj 

15. Persecution oe the Christians by the King of Persia ... 133 ^ 

16. Severus Scourged for Refusing to Worship Venus.141 

17. Marcus is Stung to Death by Wasps. 145 v 

18. Teeemachus Seain in the Arena .157 v 

19. Bishop Boniface Seain by Barbarians.169 

20. The Danes Take Archbishop Aephage .i75 m 

21. Waedenses Take Refuge in a Cave.183 ^ 

22. City of Bezieres Taken and the Peopee Seain .189 v 

23. DEA'm OF Count Simon of Montfort .201 v 

24. The Men of Rosa Roee Down Stones .211 v 

25. Waedenses Drowned at Venice.217 , 

26. The Turks Take ConstantinopeE.227 

27. Tortures of the Inquisition :—the Rope and PueeEy .... 237 

28. Tortures of the Inquisition the Rack.243 

29. Strangeed in a Spanish Prison. ^. . . . . 251 

30. Auto de Fe in Spain 




31. The Burning of John Huss. 269 

32. Jerome of Prague in the Stocks. 273 

33. Massacre of Huguenots at Paris ..291 

34. Sixty Huguenots Slain at Vassy.301 

35. Prince of Wales Tries to Save Badby. 329 

36. Execution of Sir John Oldcastle.331 

37. Burning Tyndale’s Testaments in London. 355 

38. William Tyndale, the Translator, is Strangled.363 

39. John Lambert’s Trial before Henry VIH. 371 

40. Kerby Replies to Dr. Rugham. 403 

41. Saunders’ Wife and Child Visit Him in Prison. 427 

42. Rowland Taylor Parts from His Wife and Children . . . 447 

43. Rawlins White Kneeling at the Stake. 461 

44. Thomas Hawkes Keeps His Promise to His Friends. 467 

45. Ridley and Latimer are Burned at Oxford.485 

46. John Philpot in Xewgate Prison.489 

47. Cranmer’s Confession . .. 505 

48. Cranmer’s Death:—“This Unworthy Right Hand’’. 507 



49. Thirtken Martyrs at Stratford-le-Bow . . . . , 

50. Palmer’s Mother Turns Him Away.. 

51. Ten Martyrs at Lewes.. 

52. Burning of Cicely Ormes.. 

53. Edmund Tyrrel and Rose Allen.. 

54. The Sheriff Visits Mrs. Joyce Lewis.. 

55. John Noyes Seized at His Door.. 

56. The Arrest at the Saracen’s Head.. 

57. Cuthbert Simson Refuses to Answer.. 

58. John Petty and His Son in Lollards’ Tower . 

59. Thomas Hinshaw Maltreated at Fulham . . . . 

60. Richard Yeoman and John Dale Taken to Bury 




531 ^ 

535 ^ 




569 ' 







The first Christian Martyrs were those who suffered under the 
persecution of the Romans in the early ages of the Church. For 
two hundred and forty years, or from about the year 64 after Christ 
to the time of the emperor Constantine (306), the cruel punishments 
inflicted upon the Christians by their heathen enemies are described 
by the ancient historians as being as various and horrible as the mind 
of man, inspired by the devil, could invent. 

Some,’' we are told, ‘‘ were slain with the sword; some burned 
with fire; some scourged with whips ; some stabbed with forks of iron ; 
some fastened to the cross or gibbet; some drowned in the sea; some 
had their skins plucked off; some were stoned to death; some killed 
with cold; some starved with hunger; some, with their hands cut off 
or otherwise disabled, were left naked, to the open shame of the world. 
Yet, notwithstanding the sharpness of their torments, such was the 
constancy of those who suffered—or rather, such was the power of 
the Lord in his saints—that they generally remained faithful to the 




The first Martyr to our holy religion—He who gave up his place 
in paradise, endured a life of hardship upon earth, and at last suffered 
a lingering death upon the cross, that mankind might be saved from 
eternal punishment for sin—was Jesus Christ himself His history has 
been handed down to us in the New Testament, but it may be proper 
here to give a brief outline of it before beginning to tell of the men 
and women who afterward endured martyrs’ deaths for His sake. 


In the reign of Herod, king of the Jews, an angel of the Lord 
appeared to a young woman whose name was Mary. This maiden 
lived in Nazareth, a town of Galilee. She was betrothed to a man 
named Joseph, who was a carpenter. The angel told Mary that she 
was highly favored by God above all women, for she should have a 
son, not by man but by the Holy Spirit. And the angel said, He 
shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the 
Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he 
shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there 
shall be no end.” 

Birth of Jesus. 

After this, Mary and her husband Joseph left Nazareth and went 
to Bethlehem in Judea, in order to pay a tax that had been ordered 
by the Roman emperor. Each man went to his own city to be taxed, 
and Joseph went, with his wife, to the city of David, which was called 
Bethlehem, “ because he was of the house and lineage of David.” The 
town was so crowded that the only lodgings they could get were in 
a stable, and there, in that poor place, Mary gave birth to Jesus, the 
Saviour of mankind. The great event was made known to the world 
by a bright star in the heavens and by an angel. The Wise Men of 
the East saw and followed the star, while the Shepherds were visited 
by the angel. 

After this, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus and went to Jeru- 



Salem, where they presented the child in the temple, upon which occasion 
Simeon, an aged man to whom it had been revealed that he should 
not die until he had seen the Christ, said, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy 
serv^ant depart in peace, according to thy word.” Luke 2 : 29. 

Herod Slays the Children at Bethlehem. 

When Herod the king heard that a child had been born who would 
be called the King of the Jews, he tried to kill him; and as he did not 
know the child, he sent soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all the children 
there not more than two years old, thinking that among them Jesus 
might be slain. But God sent an angel to Joseph, who told him to 
take the young child and his mother, and to flee into Egypt; there¬ 
fore Herod’s soldiers did not find him. 

When Jesus was twelve years old his parents once found him sitting 
in the temple at Jerusalem, among the most learned priests, both hear¬ 
ing them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were 
astonished at his understanding and answers. After this he went back 
with his parents to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. 

When Jesus had grown to manhood he was baptized by John the 
Baptist, in the river Jordan; the Holy Ghost then descended upon 
him in the form of a dove, and a voice came from heaven which said. 
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 

After this Jesus went into the wilderness. When he had fasted 
forty days and nights he was tempted by the devil, but resisted all 
his wiles. 

Jesus Performs his First Miracle. 

Jesus went to a city called Cana; and there he performed his first 
miracle, by turning water into wine, at a marriage feast. While going 
through Galilee he brought back to life a nobleman’s dead child. 
At Nazareth Jesus went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and 
spoke to the Jews, telling them he was the Saviour whom God had 



sent down from heaven; but the Jews were angry and would not 
believe him. They tried to kill him by throwing him down from the 
top of a steep hill on which the city was built; but because he had 
the power of God they were not able to do him any harm; and he 
left them and went away from Nazareth. 

Coming to Capernaum, Jesus preached to the people from the fish¬ 
ing boat of Peter, who afterward was his apostle; and he sent Peter 
and Andrew out on the sea to draw their net, when he caused it to 
be filled by a miraculous number of fishes, so that the net broke and 
two boats would not hold them all. Jesus relieved many sick people 
by curing them of their diseases; the blind, the lame, the lepers, and 
those possessed of evil spirits were cured merely by his word or touch. 

Among other kind and merciful acts, Jesus, cured, at the pool of 
Bethesda, a paralytic man, who had been helpless and bed-ridden for 
thirty-eight years, bidding him take up his bed and walk. He after¬ 
ward cured a man whose right hand was shrunk up and withered. 
And all that were sick, or lame, or had evil spirits in them, crowded 
around him to touch him, so that just by his touch they might be 
made well. And Jesus cured them all; yet the Jews hated him 
and tried to find som_e way to put him to death. “ 

Jesus Chooses the Twelve Apostles. 

After a night spent in a desert place, praying to God, Jesus called 
together his disciples and followers, and chose from among them 
twelve men whom he named Apostles. Apostle means messenger. 
Jesus called these twelve whom he had chosen, apostles, because he 
sent them out as messengers among the people, to teach them. The 
names of the twelve apostles were these: Peter and Andrew, James 
and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the 
son of Alpheus, Simon, and Judas the brother of James, and Judas 

After this Jesus went up on a little hill, which raised him above 



the crowd, and calling his disciples around him, sat down and taught 
them in the beautiful words of the Sermon on the Mount. 

Trav^elling from place to place, Jesus continued to teach the people, 
often using for this purpose parables, or stories with a double meaning. 
He performed wonderful miracles also, such as men had never seen 
before. He brought back to life the son of a widow at Nain who was 
being carried out to his burial; and he made alive again the daughter 
of Jairus, a ruler among the Jews. 

Jesus Feeds the Multitude. 

Jesus fed a great number of people by making five loaves of bread 
and two fishes increase until all had enough. He walked on the sur¬ 
face of the sea; he raised Lazarus to life after he had lain in his grave 
four days; besides healing many persons who were sick, blind and 
lame. Many of the Jews when they saw these great miracles which 
Jesus did, believed on him. But some went to the Pharisees and told 
them of what they had seen. Then the Pharisees and chief priests 
gathered together, and said to one another. What shall we do ? for 
this man worketh many miracles. If we let him alone, all the people 
will believe on him g.nd make him their king; and then the Romans 

will be angry, and come and take away our city and destroy our 

nation. From that time they talked with one another about some 

way of putting him to death. 

The Jews Conspire to Kill Jesus. 

The feast of the passover, which was celebrated by the Jews every 
year, drew many of them to Jerusalem; therefore the chief priests 
and scribes agreed together to seize Jesus when he should come to 
keep the feast, Jesus knew that they had planned to take him, and 
told his disciples, two days before the feast, that he would be betrayed 
and put to death, but would rise again from the dead on the third day. 
When Peter heard this he was surprised, and said, “ No, these things 


shall not happen to thee/’ He thought, as did all the other disciples, 
that their Saviour had come to set them free from the Romans and 
make them into a kingdom, and to reign over them like other earthly 
kings. For although they saw he was now a poor man, they did not 
think he would stay so, but expected he would soon become rich and 
great and would make them great also. They had not yet learned that 
he had come to rule only in their hearts, and to have his kingdom 
there; and that, instead of fighting battles for them and ruling over 
them as a king, he was going to die on the cross for their sins. 

Now when the time came for Jesus to be betrayed, Judas Iscariot, 
one of the apostles, went to the chief priests and asked them how 
much money they would give him if he would deliver Jesus into 
their hands; and they agreed to pay him thirty pieces of silver. 
From that time he tried to find Jesus alone, that he might betray 
him to them. 

The Last Supper. 

Jesus went to eat the feast of the passover at Jerusalem, with his 
twelve apostles ; and as he sat with them he told the apostles that it was 
the last time he would eat with them. He told them that he would 
not eat again of the lamb that had been sacrificed, until he himself 
had been sacrificed for the sins of the people; and he said that one 
of the twelve who sat there with him would betray him. The apos¬ 
tles were astonished at this, and began, each of them, to say to him. 
Lord, Is it I? Is it I ? Jesus said it was the one he would give a 
piece of bread to, after he had dipped it in the dish. When he had 
dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot; and Judas rose up 
from the table and went out into the street. 

While they were at table, Jesus took some bread in his hands, and 
gave thanks, and broke it, and gave the pieces to the apostles. And 
he said to them. Take it and eat it, for this is my body, which is broken 
for you. He meant that the bread was like his body, and that it repre- 



seated his body, because his body was very soon to be broken, and 
wounded on the cross, for them and for us all. 

After he had given them the bread, he took some wine in a cup, 
and gave thanks, and handed it to the apostles and told them to drink 
of it. He said. This wine is my blood which is shed for the forgive¬ 
ness of sins. 

He meant that the wine was like his blood, and that it represented 
his blood, because his blood was very soon to be poured out from the 
wounds in his hands and his feet, while he was being nailed to the 
cross. And the reason he would let himself be nailed there was, 
because he wanted all the people in the world to have their sins 

Then he told the apostles that after he was dead, they should meet 
together and eat of the bread and drink of the wine, in the same way 
that he had shown them. And whenever they did it, he said, they 
should remember him. 

Judas Betrays Jesus. 

After supper they went out from the house to the mountain called 
the Mount of Olives, which was not far from Jerusalem. And they 
came into a garden that was there, called the garden of Gethsemane. 
Jesus went a little way from the apostles to a place by himself, and 
kneeled down on the ground and prayed^ and while he prayed he was 
in an agony, for he was suffering for the sins of all mankind. 

Now Judas was watching for a time when he could betray Jesus to 
the chief priests. And because it was night, and the garden was a 
lonely place, and only the apostles were with Jesus, Judas thought 
that this was the best time to betray his Master. 

So he went to the chief priests and Pharisees, and told them where 
Jesus had gone. Then they called together a band of men and gave 
them swords and clubs to fight with, and sent them with Judas to take 

Jesus. Jesus knew they were coming, yet he did not make haste to 


go away, but waited to let them take him, because he knew that the 
time had come for him to die. 

While he was yet speaking to the apostles and telling them that 
the one who would betray him was coming near, Judas came, and the 
band of men with him carrying swords and clubs and lanterns. 

Now Judas had told these men how they should know which one 
was Jesus. He had said to them, The one I shall kiss is he; take him 
and hold him fast. Then Judas came to Jesus and pretended he was 
glad to see him; he said, Master, Master, and kissed him. But Jesus 
said to him, Judas, dost thou betray me to my enemies by a kiss? 
Then the men whom the chief priests had sent, when they saw Judas 
kiss him, took hold of Jesus and bound him with fetters, to take him 

When the apostles saw them do this to their Master whom they 
loved, they wanted to fight against them. They said to Jesus, Lord, 
shall we fight them with swords ? And Peter, who had a sword, 
drew it out of the sheath, and struck one of the men and cut off 
his right ear. 

But Jesus told Peter to put his sword back again into its sheath. 
His Father, he said, would send thousands of angels to fight for him 
and save him from dying, if he would ask for them. And he stretched 
out his hand and touched the man’s ear that Peter had struck with the 
sword, and made it well again. Then the apostles, being afraid of the 
band of men, all left Jesus and made haste to flee away. 

Jesus is Taken Before the High Priest. 

The men took Jesus and led him to the house of Caiaphas, the 
high priest. Peter followed Jesus to the house, and being asked 
if he was his disciple, denied it three times, as Jesus had foretold. 
Peter was reminded of this by the crowing of a cock, and he went 
out and wept bitterly. When it was morning they took Jesus 
before the chief court of the Jews, held in a room near the tern- 



pie. False witnesses were brought to testify against him, but they 
could not prove that he had done any wrong. The high priest 
asked Jesus if he was the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus answered, 
I am. And I say unto you. Hereafter you shall see me sitting on 
the right hand of God, and coming back to earth again in the clouds 
of heaven. Then the high priest was angiy^, and rent his clothes, 
and cried. He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we 
of witnesses ? 

Jesus Before Pontius Pilate. 

After the Jews had mocked Jesus, and expressed their hatred 
and contempt for him, they took him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman 
governor, to be condemned to death. Pilate questioned Jesus, and 
could find no fault in him. Now, ever}^ year, at the feast of the 
passover, it was the custom for the Roman governor to set free 
one Jewish prisoner; and there was at this time in prison one 
named Barabbas, who was a murderer. Then Pilate said to the 
people. Which one shall I set free? Barabbas, or Jesus, who is 
called Christ? For he knew they had brought Jesus to be pun¬ 
ished only because they hated him. 

While Pilate was speaking with them, his wife sent word to him, 
saying. Do no harm to that just man, for I have been much troubled 
this day in a dream concerning him. 

But the chief priests persuaded the Jews to ask that Barabbas 
might be set free. Pilate answered. What then shall I do with 
Jesus, who is called Christ? They all said. Let him be crucified. 
Pilate said. Why, what evil has he done? But they cried out the 
more with loud voices. Crucify him! When Pilate saw that he 
could not persuade them to ask for Jesus, he took some water and 
washed his hands before the people, saying, “ I am innocent of the 
blood of this just person: see ye to it.” Then answered all the 
Jews, “ His blood be on us and on our children.” 



The Roman Soldiers Scourge Jesus. 

Then the Roman soldiers who were to put Jesus to death took 
him and scourged him. After they had done this they mocked 
him by putting on him a purple robe; and they plaited a wreath 
of thorns, which they put on his head. Instead of a golden sceptre, 
or rod, such as kings held when sitting on their thrones, they put a 
reed in his right hand, and they bowed down before him, pretend¬ 
ing he was a king, saying. Hail, King of the Jews! And they 
took the reed from him and struck him on the head; they struck 
him also with their hands. 

After all these things had been done to Jesus, Pilate thought the 
Jews would be willing to let him go ; so he brought him out where 
the Jews could see him, with the crown of thorns on his head, and 
wearing the purple robe. But when the chief priests and all the 
Jews saw Jesus, they cried out. Crucify him! Crucify him ! Pilate 
said to them, take him yourselves then and crucify him, for I find 
no fault in him. 

When Judas Iscariot saw that Jesus was really to die, he was 
greatly afraid for what he had done. And he came to the chief 
priests and rulers with the thirty pieces of silver, to give it back 
to them. But they would not take it, and he threw the money 
on the ground and went and hanged himself. 

Jesus is Crucified. 

The soldiers, after they had mocked Jesus, took off the purple 
robe, and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away 
to crucify him. 

When a person was led out to be crucified he was made to carry 
his cross ; but because Jesus could not carry his cross alone, the 
soldiers made a man named Simon, from Cyrene, help him carry it. 

And they brought Jesus to Mount Calvary, which was a little 
way from Jerusalem, and there they nailed him to the cross. Even 



while they were crucifying- him he prayed for them, saying, Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they do. 

Pilate made a writing and had it fastened to the cross. These 
were the words that he wrote: Jesus of Nazareth the King of 
THE Jews. 

At the same time that they crucified Jesus, they crucified two 
thieves with him, one on a cross at his right hand, and another 
at his left. 

And the soldiers took his garments and divided them among 
themselves. While Jesus hung upon the cross in the agonies of 
death, the people mocked him and said, “ If thou art the Son of 
God, come down from the cross.'’ The chief priests and scribes 
also reviled him, and said, “ He saved others; himself he cannot 
save.” One of the thieves who was crucified with him, also cried 
out, and said, “ If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.” But the 
other, having greater faith, exclaimed, “ Lord, remember me when 
thou comest into thy kingdom.” To him Jesus replied. This day 
shalt thou be with me in paradise. 

From the sixth until the ninth hour—that is, from twelve until 
three o’clock—while Jesus was upon the cross, the earth was cov¬ 
ered with darkness and the stars appeared at noon-day, which made 
the people afraid. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with 
a loud voice. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? 
Then one of the men standing near held up to him, upon the point 
of a reed, a sponge dipped in vinegar. When Jesus, therefore, 
had received the vinegar, he said. It is finished: and he bowed his 
head, and died. Then the curtain, called the veil, which hung in 
the temple, was torn in two from the top to the bottom; the earth 
shook, the rocks were broken in pieces, and the graves were opened, 
and many of the dead came forth. When the Roman soldiers who 
were watching Jesus saw these things, they feared greatly, and said. 
Surely this man was the Son of God! 



Jesus is Buried, and Rises from the Tomb. 

The body of Jesus was taken down from the cross by his dis¬ 
ciples, and buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. After the 
burial the Jews caused a watch to be set; for they said. His dis¬ 
ciples may come and steal him away. But in the night the angel 
of the Lord rolled back the stone from the door of the sepulchre. 
His face was bright like lightning, and his garments white as snow; 
the soldiers trembled for fear of him, and fled from the sepulchre. 

In the morning three women came with spices to the sepulchre, 
but found it empty and the stone rolled away. Then they went 
into the sepulchre, and there they saw an angel dressed in long 
white garments. And the women were afraid. But the angel said 
to them. Be not afraid. You are looking for Jesus who was cruci¬ 
fied. He is not here, he has risen. Come and see the place where 
they laid him; and then go and tell his disciples that he has risen 
up from the dead. And the women went out quickly and made 
haste away from the sepulchre, for they were greatly afraid, and 
yet they were full of joy to know that Jesus had risen. 

As they went to tell the apostles, Jesus himself met them; and 
they bowed down at his feet and worshipped him. Then he told 
them not to be afraid, but to tell his apostles that they should go 
into Galilee, and there, he said, he would come and meet them. 

On the same day that Jesus arose, he appeared to two of his 
disciples who were walking together toward a village named Em- 
maus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And another 
time when the apostles were in a room together, with the door 
shut, Jesus came and stood among them. Thomas, one of the 
twelve apostles, was not in the room with the others the first time 
Jesus appeared there to them. Therefore, when they told him they 
had seen the Lord, he would not believe them; he said that unless 
he could, himself, see the marks of the nails and of the spear, he 
vould not believe that it was Jesus. After eight days had passed, 

Cllj^/srs LIFE ON EARTH. 

the disciples were together again in a room; and Thomas was with 
them. Jesus then appeared to them as he had done before, stand¬ 
ing in their midst. And he told Thomas to look with his own eyes 
upon his wounded hands and side, and to be no longer faithless, but 
believing. Thomas, being at last convinced, answered. My Lord and 
my God. 

Jesus Ascends to Heaven. 

After this Jesus showed himself several times to his disciples. 
When forty days were past after he had risen from the dead, he 
met his apostles again at Jerusalem, and he lifted up his hands and 
blessed them. And it was so, that while he blessed them he was 
taken from them and carried up into heaven ; and went into a cloud 
out of their sight. And while they looked toward heaven as he 
went up, behold, two angels stood by them in white garments, who 
said. Ye men of Galilee, Why stand you gazing up into heaven? 
This same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall come 
down again, in the clouds, as you have seen him go up into 

Such is the beautiful story of the life and death, the resurrection 
from the tomb, and ascent to heaven, of Jesus, the Saviour of man¬ 
kind. Little is it to be wondered at, then, that heathen nations 
vainly have tried, by cruelty and oppression, to blot out his blessed 
memory from among men; or that they have wholly failed to pre¬ 
vent the spread of that divine religion which he founded and estab¬ 
lished with his blood. 




Lonely and sorrowful the disciples must have been when their 
Lord had gone from them. But though they could no longer hear 
his voice, they knew that he looked down from heaven upon them 
and would be with them, and his whole church, in spirit, to the 
end of the world. Thus the apostles were to be helped and guided 
in the work he had told them to do—which was, to go out into 
all parts of the world and tell the people of every country that 
the Saviour of mankind had come, and had died upon the cross 
that they might be saved. 

There were now but eleven apostles, for Judas Iscariot, who 
betrayed Christ was no longer of them. Therefore Matthias was 
chosen, so the number of the apostles was twelve again; and soon 
they separated to carry on the work of converting all the world 
to the religion of Christ. 

The New Testament does not tell us how long the apostles and 
evangelists (disciples who wrote the Gospels) lived, nor how they 
died; except Stephen, who was chosen to be a deacon by the apos¬ 
tles, and who was stoned to death ; and James, the apostle, who was 
slain by Herod. But ancient writers and historians, who wrote 
down, in the early centuries after Christ, the traditions or accounts 
they heard concerning these holy men, tell us that nearly all of 
them died martyrs’ deaths, after living lives of toil and hardship 
while preaching the gospel of Christ to the heathen world. 

The following are the stories which have come dowm to us. 





I. St. Stephen. 

St. Stephen, who is called the Proto-Mavtyi\ or first martyr, and 
whose history is in the Acts of the Apostles, in the New Testament, 
was the first Christian man to be put to death for his faith in Jesus 
Christ. He thus followed next his Master in the path that leads 
to glory. 

Owing to the increasing numbers of the disciples, many of whom 
were poor people, complaint began to be made that some were neg¬ 
lected in the daily alms-giving. Then the apostles said. It is not 
right that we should cease preaching to serve tables ; so Stephen 
was chosen from among the Lord’s disciples, with six others, to be 
a deacon. He helped in giving alms to the poor and also preached 
to the people. He was so good and holy a man that he was per¬ 
mitted to work miracles by healing the sick, and converting unbe¬ 
lievers. He preached to the Jews in words so full of power that they 
could not answer him nor contradict him. The principal persons be¬ 
longing to Jewish synagogues entered into debate with him, but by 
the soundness of his doctrine and the strength of his reasoning he 
overcame them all. This so angered them that they paid false 
witnesses to accuse him of blaspheming God and Moses. 

On being taken before the council, he made a noble defence: but 
that so much the more enraged his judges, so that they resolved to 
condemn him to death. At this instant, Stephen saw a vision from 
heaven, and in rapture he exclaimed, Behold, I see the heavens 
opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God!” 
Then the Jews cried out against him, and having dragged him 
out of the city, they stoned him to death. 

After the martyrdom of St. Stephen there was a great persecu¬ 
tion against the Christians at Jerusalem : “And they were all scattered 
abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the 
apostles.” Nicanor, one of the deacons, and more than 2000 Chris¬ 
tians are believed to have perished during this persecution. 



2. St. James. 

St. James was a Galilean, the son of Zebedee, a fisherman, and 
the elder brother of the apostle John. Being one day with his 
father fishing in the sea of Galilee, he and his brother John were 
called by Jesus to become his disciples. They cheerfully obeyed 
the summons, and leaving their father, followed the Lord. 

Jesus called these brothers Boanerges, or the Sons of Thunder, 
on account of their vigorous minds and impetuous tempers. 

St. James was the first of the apostles to meet a martyr's death. 
Herod Agrippa, when he was made governor of Judea by the 
Roman emperor Caligula, raised a persecution against the Chris¬ 
tians, and especially singled out St. James as an object of his 

When the apostle was led out to die, a man who had brought 
false accusations against him walked with him to the place of exe¬ 
cution. He had doubtless expected to see St. James looking pale 
and frightened, but he saw him, instead, bright and joyous, like a 
conqueror who had won a great battle. The false witness greatly 
wondered at this, and became convinced that the Saviour in whom 
the prisoner by his side believed must be the true God, or he could 
not impart such cheerfulness and courage to a man about to die. 
The man himself, therefore, became a convert to Christianity, and 
was condemned to die with St. James the apostle. Both were con¬ 
sequently beheaded on the same da}" and with the same sword. 
This took place in the }"ear of our Lord 44. 

About the same period, Timon and Parmenas, two of the seven 
deacons, suffered martyrdom, the former at Corinth and the latter at 
Philippi in Macedonia. 

3. St. Philip. 

This apostle was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee. He was sent on 
important missions into heathen countries, being deputed to preach 



in parts of Asia, where he labored very diligently in his apostleship. 
He then travelled into Phrygia, and arriving at Hierapolis, found 
the inhabitants so sunk in idolatry as to worship a great serpent. 
St. Philip, however,- converted many of them to Christianity, and 
even accomplished the destruction of the serpent. This so enraged 
the rulers, and especially the priests, who gained much money by 
the superstitions of the people, that they committed him to prison. 
He was then cruelly scourged, and afterwards crucified. His friend 
St. Bartholomew succeeded in taking down the body, and burying 
it; but, for this, he was himself veiy^ near suffering the same fate. St. 
Philip’s martyrdom took place eight years after that of St. James, 
in the year 52 after Christ. 

4. St. Matthew. 

This apostle, evangelist, and martyr, was born at Nazareth, in 
Galilee, but lived chiefly at Capernaum, on account of his occupation, 
which w^as that of a tax-gatherer, or collector of tribute. On being 
called as a disciple, he at once left everything to follow Christ. After 
the ascension of his Master, he continued preaching the gospel in 
Judea for nine years. When about to leave Judea, in order to 
go and preach among the Gentiles, he wrote his gospel in Hebrew 
for the use of the Jewish people to whom he had preached. It was 
afterwards translated into Greek by St. James (the Less). He then 
went into Ethiopia, ordained preachers, settled churches, and made 
many converts. He afterwards travelled to Parthia, where he met 
his death, being slain with the sword, about the year 60. 

5. St. Mark. 

This evangelist and martyr was born of Jewish parents, of the 
tribe of Levi. It is believed that he was converted to Christianity 
by the apostle St. Peter, whom he served as a writer, and whom 
he attended in all his travels. Being entreated by the converts at 



Rome to write down the admirable discourses they had heard spoken 
by St. Peter, he consented, and accordingly wrote his gospel in the 
Greek language. The words of that gospel are, therefore, actually 
the words of St. Peter. He established a bishopric at Alexandria, 
and then went to Libya, where he made many converts. On return¬ 
ing to Alexandria, some of the Egyptians, jealous of his power, 
determined on his death. 

St. IMark was therefore seized, his feet were tied together, and he 
was dragged through the streets, and left bruised and bleeding in 
a dungeon all night. The next day they burned his body. His 
bones were afterward carefully gathered up by the Christians, de¬ 
cently interred, and at a later period, so one tradition tells, re¬ 
moved to Venice, of \yhich state he is considered the tutelar saint 
and patron. 

6. St. James (the Less). 

This apostle and martyr is called the Less ” to distinguish him 
from the apostle James, the brother of John, who is called “the 
Great.” He was, after the Lord’s ascension, elected bishop of Jeru¬ 
salem. He wrote his general epistle to all Christians and converts, 
to suppress a dangerous error then being circulated, which was, 
“ That a faith in Christ was alone sufficient for salvation, without 
good works.” The Jews of Jerusalem, being at this time greatly 
enraged against the Christians, determined to wreak their vengeance 
on St. James. The mob being incited to attack him, they fell upon 
him in the street, threw him down, and beat, bruised, and stoned 
him to death. 

7. St. Matthias. 

This apostle and martyr was called to the apostleship after the 
ascension of Christ, to supply the vacant place of Judas, who had 
betrayed his Master. St. Matthias was martyred at Jerusalem, being 
first stoned and then beheaded. 


8. St. Andrew. 

This apostle and martyr was the brother of St. Peter. He preached 
the gospel to many Asiatic nations. At Patrae, in Greece, the governor 
of the country^ threatened him with death for preaching against the 
idols which he worshipped; but St. Andrew fearlessly continued to 
tell the people of Christ. He was therefore sentenced to be cruci¬ 
fied on a cross made of two pieces of wood of equal length, the ends 
of which were fixed in the ground. He was fastened to it, not with 
nails, but with cords, so that his death might be more slow. 

An ancient writer tells of the apostle’s sublime courage and fear¬ 
lessness, in the following words : 

“ When Andrew saw the cross prepared, he neither changed 
countenance nor color, as the weakness of mortal man is wont to 
do; neither did his blood shrink ; neither did he fail in his speech; 
his body fainted not; neither was his mind molested; his under¬ 
standing did not fail him; but out of the abundance of his heart 
his mouth did speak, and fervent charity did appear in his words. 
He said, “ O cross, most welcome and oft-looked for; with a will¬ 
ing mind, joyfully and desirousl}% I come to thee, being the scholar 
of Him who did hang on thee; because I have been always thy 
lover, and have longed to embrace thee!” 

St. Andrew hung upon the cross three whole days, suffering dread¬ 
ful pain, but continuing constantly to tell the people around him of 
the love of Jesus Christ. The people as they listened to him began 
to believe his words, and asked the go\^ernor to let him be taken 
down from the cross. Not liking to refuse them he at last ordered 
the ropes to be cut, but when the last cord was severed, the body 
of the apostle fell to the ground quite dead. 

9. St. Peter. 

This great apostle and mart}T was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee. 
He was the son of Jona, a fisherman, which employment St. Peter 




himself followed. So firm was his faith that Jesus gave him the 
name of Cephas, meaning, in the Syriac language, a rock. He was 
called at the same time as his brother, Andrew, to be an apostle. 
Though ever eager and zealous in the service of Christ, St. Peter 
yet had the weakness to deny his Master after his seizure in the 
garden, though he at first defended him with his sword; but the 
sincerity of his repentance atoned for his denial. 

After the ascension of Christ, the Jews still continued to persecute 
the Christians, and ordered several of the apostles, among whom 
was St. Peter, to be scourged. This punishment they bore with the 
greatest fortitude, and even rejoiced that they were thought worthy 
to suffer for the sake of their Redeemer. 

When Herod Agrippa caused St. James to be put to death, and 
found that it pleased the Jews, he resolved that St. Peter should 
be the next sacrifice. He was accordingly arrested, and thrown 
into prison; but an angel of the Lord came in the night and touched 
him, and his chains fell off, the prison doors opened, and he went 
out free. Herod was so angry at his escape that he ordered the 
sentinels who guarded the dungeon in which he had been confined, 
to be put to death. 

After performing various miracles, St. Peter went to Rome; St. 
Paul being there also at this time. In the year 64, the emperor 
Nero (as it was believed) caused the great city to be set on fire, 
and looked on with enjoyment at the destruction of which he was 
himself the cause. Yet the wicked emperor accused the Christians 
of having kindled the fire which had laid in ashes the greater por¬ 
tion of Rome, and he ordered hundreds of them to be killed in 
various cruel ways. 

There was a magician at Rome during this time, named Simon 
Magus, who pretended that he could fly through the air, and do 
many wonderful things which no other man could do. Crowds 
came together one day to see him fly, as he had promised, and 



among the crowd were St. Peter and St. Paul. It is said that Simon 
Magus did indeed, at first, actually perform some wonderful feats, 
and the people were much surprised and impressed. But St. Peter 
and St. Paul then knelt down and called on the Lord to confound 
the magician, and bring his deeds to naught; when they had done 
this, Simon at once fell to the ground and broke both his legs. 

As Simon Magus was a great favorite of Nero’s, the emperor was 
vciy angry at the apostles; especially, as they had converted to Chris¬ 
tianity some of the members of that cruel tyrant’s own household; 
so he cast St. Peter and St. Paul into prison and kept them there 
nine months. During this time they converted two of the captains 
of the guards, and forty-seven other persons, to Christianity. Hav¬ 
ing been nine months in prison, Peter was brought out for execu¬ 
tion, and after being scourged, he was crucified with his head down¬ 
wards. It is related that he himself chose this painful posture be¬ 
cause he did not think he was worthy to suffer in the same manner 
as the Lord. 

lo. St. Paul. 

This apostle and martyr was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, 
born at Tarsus in Cilicia, and, before his conversion, was called Saul. 
From his father he inherited the rights of Roman citizenship; prob¬ 
ably earned by some ancestor through services rendered the Roman 
state. Paul was at first a great enemy to the Christians, being present 
at the stoning of Stephen, the executioners laying their clothes at his 
feet. But after the death of Stephen, while Paul was on his way to 
Damascus, the glory of the Lord shone suddenly upon him, he was 
struck to the earth, and was made blind for three days. After his re¬ 
covery he was converted and became an apostle, and lastly suffered 
as a martyr for the religion which he had formerly persecuted. 
St. Paul’s great abilities and earnest enthusiasm in spreading the 
gospel of Christ have made his name revered wherever the Chris¬ 
tian religion is known. After his wonderful conversion he went 



to Jerusalem, where he saw the apostles Peter, James and John. 
He then went forth with Barnabas to preach. At Iconium, the two 
were near being stoned to death by the enraged Jews; upon which 
they fled to Lycaonia. At Lystra, St. Paul was stoned, dragged 
out of the city, and left for dead. He, however, recovered and 
'escaped to Derbe. At Philippi, Paul and Silas were imprisoned 
and whipped; and both were again abused at Thessalonica. Being 
afterwards taken at Jerusalem, St. Paul was sent to Caesarea, but ap¬ 
pealed to Caesar at Rome. Here he continued a prisoner at large 
for two years; and at length being released, he ^dsited the churches 
of Greece and Rome, and preached in Gaul and Spain. Return¬ 
ing to Rome, he was taken, imprisoned nine months, with St. Peter, 
and then martyred by the order of Nero, by being beheaded with 
the sword. 

II. St. Jude (Judas the Brother of James). 

This apostle and martyr, the brother of James, was commonly 
called Thaddaeus. Being sent to Persia, he wrought many miracles 
and made many converts, which stirring up the resentment of peo¬ 
ple in power, he was crucified in the year 72 after Christ. 

12. St. Bartholomew. 

This apostle and martyr preached in several countries, performed 
many miracles, and healed various diseases. He translated St. Mat¬ 
thew’s gospel into the language of heathen nations. The idolaters 
finally slew him, some say with the sword, others that he was 
beaten to death with clubs. 

13. St. Thomas. 

He was called by this name in Syriac, but Didymus in Greek; 
he was an apostle and martyr, and preached in Parthia and India. 
After converting many to Christ he aroused the anger of the pagan 
priests, and was martyred by being thrust through with a spear. 



14. St. Luke the Evangelist. 

St. Luke was the author of the gospel which bears his name. 
He travelled with St. Paul to Rome, and preached to many barbar¬ 
ous nations. It is not known, certainly, whether St. Luke died a 
natural death, or was martyred by the enemies of Christianity. 

15. St. Simon. 

The zeal of this apostle and martyr caused him to be distin¬ 
guished by the name of Zelotes. He preached with great success 
in Mauritania and other parts of Africa, and even in Britain, where, 
though he made many converts, he was crucified by the pagans in 
the year 74. 

16. St. John. 

He was distinguished for being a prophet, apostle, and evangelist. 
He was brother to James, and not only one of the twelve apostles, 
but one whom Jesus chiefly loved. St. John founded many churches 
in Greece. 

Being at Ephesus, he was ordered by the emperor Domitian to 
be sent bound to Rome, where he was condemned to be cast into 
a caldron of boiling oil. Either this sentence was not carried out, 
or a miracle saved him from injury, for he was afterward banished 
by the emperor to the island of Patmos, and there wrote that beau¬ 
tiful book which is called the Revelation of St. John the Divine, and 
which tells of the joys of the celestial city. 

At last Domitian died, and the next emperor, Nerva, was kind 
to the Christians, and sent St. John back to Ephesus, when he wrote 
his gospel. He lived to be a very old man, and died a natural death 
at Ephesus—some writers say in the one-hundredth year of his age. 

17. St. Barnabas. 

He was a native of Cyprus, but of Jewish parents: the manner of 
his death is unknown, but it is supposed to have taken place A. d. 73. 



UNDER NERO, A. d. 64. 

Having given in the preceding chapter the histories of the apos¬ 
tles and evangelists, as they are told in the traditions that have 
come down to us, we will now go back to the time of the emperor 
Nero. It was this cruel tyrant who put to death the apostles St. 
Peter and St. Paul; and it was he who began what is called in 
history the “ first general persecution of the Christians,” in the 
early ages of the church. He was the sixth emperor of Rome, 
and the Caesar to whom St. Paul appealed when he was accused 
before Festus. 

Nero was made emperor when only sixteen years old, through 
the dark plots of his wicked mother Agrippina, who by poisoning 
her husband, the emperor Claudius, and his son, cleared the way 
to the throne for Nero, who was her own son by a former marriage. 
During the first five years of his reign the young emperor was 
influenced by the advice of able counsellors, and ruled wisely; but 
as he grew older his violent nature began to show itself He fell 
under the sway of a beautiful and notorious woman, Poppaea Sabina, 
who was a proverb for vanity and evil living, and who was said to 
keep five hundred she-asses so that she might bathe in their milk, 
to preserve her complexion. Nero wanted to marry her, although 
he already had a wife, Octavia. Agrippina taking the part of the 
neglected wife, Nero planned his mother’s death by the ingenious 
device of sending her to her country seat in a boat, which was 

cunningly contrived to fall to pieces as soon as it left the shore. 




Agrippina saved herself by swimming to the land, but was directly 
afterward slain by the swords of executioners, who were despatched 
by her son Nero as soon as news had been brought of her escape 
from drowning. Octavia was divorced, sent to an island, and put 
to death there; Nero then married Poppsea and gave himself up 
to the wildest and most reckless course of life. 

Throwing aside the state and dignity usually maintained by a 
Roman emperor, Nero would descend into the arena and mingle with 
the gladiators, or professional fighting-men, sometimes even taking 
part in the bloody scenes enacted there. This delighted the rabble, 
who crowded the tiers of seats in the great circus and shouted their 
approval, but the nobility turned with disgust from the spectacle 
of an emperor so degrading himself. Caring only for the applause 
of the mob, Nero used every means to extort money from the rich 
and spent it in wasteful extravagance. A huge palace, called the 
Golden House because of its splendid decorations, was built. This 
magnificent structure was of great size and surrounded by gardens, 
lakes, baths, and pleasure-grounds. Now, at last,” said Nero, '' I 
am lodged as an emperor should be.” 

In order to get money to complete this palace, accusations were 
brought against many rich men of Rome, who were put to death, 
and their property taken by the emperor. His hatred and cruelty 
seemed especially directed toward the higher classes. Seneca, the 
philosopher, Nero’s former teacher and adviser, was accused, and 
chose to die by his own hand, by bleeding to death in a warm bath, 
his wife dying in the same way. So common did it become for men 
to receive a message sentencing them to death that they searched 
for easy ways of dying, so as to escape the public executioners. 

About this time a terrible fire broke out at Rome, which destroyed 
six of the fourteen quarters, or districts, of the city. For six days 
the fire burned furiously, and scarcely had it died down when another 
fire began in the opposite direction. Many ancient temples, monu- 



ments, and works of art were ruined by the flames. The people 
were panic-stricken, and believed that the fire had been started by 
the emperor for the mere pleasure of seeing it burn. It was said 
that when the flames were at their height, he went up into a tower 
and sat there, looking down upon the burning city while he played 
upon his harp, and sang of the burning of Troy—saying, I would 
that I might see the ruin of all things.” 

Nero Accuses the Christians. 

But becoming alarmed at the hatred he had aroused in his peo¬ 
ple, and finding his throne endangered, Nero hastened into the streets, 
and with a free hand scattered money among the crowds until his 
treasury was empty. Then, with characteristic cruelty and cunning 
he undertook to divert the attention of the angry mob from himself 
by leading them to wreak their vengeance upon helpless and inno¬ 
cent victims. He therefore accused the Christians of having set 
fire to Rome, and ordered them to be hunted down, slain, and tor¬ 
tured in such a variety of horrible ways as awakened the pity of 
even the heartless Romans themselves. 

Nero’s Torches. 

In particular he had some sewed up in the skins of wild beasts, 
and then worried by savage dogs until they expired. Others he 
had wrapped in tow and smeared with pitch; they were then fast¬ 
ened to tall poles planted in the garden of his palace, and set on 
fire, while Nero, attended by his slaves and courtiers, reclined upon 
a balcony and watched the blazing of what he called his “ torches.” 

The Catacombs of Rome. 

In those dark days the Christians had no churches and dared 
not meet in public, so they tried to find some secret places where 
they could gather together without being disturbed. Now it hap- 




pened that, just outside the city of Rome there were deep tunnels 
or caves in the rock, called catacombs, which had been dug long 
before to get stone for building the city. The rock had been hol¬ 
lowed out into many galleries, with here and there a vaulted cham¬ 
ber, where several passage-ways crossed or met. Slaves and convicts 
worked in these places, and they became known to the Christians 
as a safe place in which to hide. They also buried their dead in 
some of these caves, in niches or shelves cut in the sides of the 
galleries, and over the bodies they placed their names, with loving 
inscriptions, some of which remain plainly visible to this day. The 
Christians used to meet for religious services in these gloomy, under¬ 
ground chambers, in which they could worship God without fear 
of being thrown to the lions or given over to the flames. 

At night these Christian men and women might be seen stealing 
forth from their homes, carefully looking behind them from time 
to time to see that they were not followed; then, hastening to the 
outskirts of the great city, they entered the dark openings in the 
rock and passed along the gloomy galleries. Soon they heard 
sweet music, and a vaulted chamber, brightly lighted, came into 
view at the end of the dark tunnel; men and women, dressed in 
white robes, were there singing a psalm of joy. 

Early Christian Worship. 

At these meetings they told each other of the trials they had 
suffered in their homes; they confessed to one another their sins 
and doubts, or related the blessings received in answer to their earn¬ 
est prayers. In their underground church they listened to sermons 
from their elders, and perhaps heard read a letter from one of the 
apostles. They then partook of the bread and the wine, in memory 
of Him whose blood was shed for them, and they kissed one another 
when the love-feast was ended. 

At these meetings there was no distinction of rank; the high- 



born lady sat by the slave whom she had once scarcely looked 
upon as a man. Humility and submission were among the chief 
virtues of the early Christians; slavery had not been forbidden by the 
apostles, because it was believed that those who were the lowest 
in this world would be the highest in the next. Slavery was there¬ 
fore considered a state of grace, and some Christians appear to have 
refused their freedom on religious grounds, for St. Paul exhorts such 
persons to become free if they can. 

Spreading the Gospel. 

In that age every Christian was a missionary. The soldier tried 
to win recruits for the heavenly host; the prisoner sought to bring 
his jailer to Christ; the slave girl whispered the gospel in the ears 
of her mistress; the young wife begged her husband to be baptized, 
that their souls might not be parted after death; every one who had 
experienced the joys of believing tried to bring others to the faith. 

Thus the numbers of the Christians rapidly increased. It began 
to be noised abroad that there was in Rome a secret society which 
worshipped an unknown God. The rulers, who believed respect for 
the ancient gods was necessary to the safety of the state, became 
alarmed and issued orders aimed against the Christians, forbidding 
secret meetings. Thus it came about that when any public calam¬ 
ity—pestilence, fire, famine, or flood—appeared it was blamed upon 
the Christians, who, it was supposed, had brought down the anger 
of the offended gods. 

Cruel Punishment of the Christians. 

Then came cruel laws, riots and commotions, and the terrible cry 
of Christiani ad leoiics f '—To the lions with the Christians!—was 
raised by the mob and resounded through the streets of Rome. 

The Colosseum at Rome. 

Combats to the death between trained fighting-men called gladia- 



tors, or between prisoners of war, slaves, criminals, and wild beasts, 
were the favorite amusements of the Romans. The emperor who 
could give the people the greatest number of these bloody enter-i 
tainments was the idol of the populace. 

An immense stone building, or circus, called the Colosseum, was 
begun by Vespasian and finished by Titus, in which to hold these 
great shows. Its ruins still stand, and amaze the traveller by their 
huge size and massive strength. Tier above tier, sloping backward 
from around a level central space or arena, rose seats for nearly 
100,000 spectators. The outer wall was almost circular, filled with 
arched and pillared openings, and mounted storey upon storey to 
the height of i6o feet. In length the Colosseum was 612 feet, and 
in breadth 515 feet. The building was without a roof, and was 
open to the sky except during the games, when a great awning 
was stretched all across it, from poles fixed at regular intervals 
around the topmost galler}^. 

To the Colosseum flocked the populace of the greatest city in 
the world, to witness scenes of cruelty and bloodshed. The emperor 
himself, beautiful ladies of high rank, haughty senators and nobles, 
as well as all the rabble of the mighty city, crowded the seats 
ranged around the arena and gazed pitilessly down upon men being 
stabbed to death by human adversaries, or torn to pieces by ravenous 
lions and tigers, let loose from dens under the walls. It is recorded 
that when the Colosseum was finished and first opened to the public, 
the games continued for one hundred days, and that 5000 wild beasts, 
brought from all parts of the then known world, were slain. It was 
into this blood-stained arena that many of the early Christians were 
brought, to suffer death in its most terrible forms. 

Courage and Increase of the Christians. 

But persecution could not diminish the ever-increasing flow of 
converts. It served, indeed, to make their numbers greater, for, to 



the Christian, death was but the beginning of eternal happiness. 
They therefore welcomed it almost with joy, and the sight of their 
cheerful countenances as they were led to execution, astonished the 
lookers-on, and made many inquire what this belief could be that 
seemed to rob death of its terrors. Thus a desire was awakened 
in hundreds of troubled hearts to share in the consolations which 
the new faith afforded believers. 

Many of those who lost their lives were men distinguished for 
their zeal and ability in spreading the gospel. The names and his¬ 
tories of some of them have come down to us, and are as follows : 

Aristarchus, the Macedonian. 

Aristarchus was a native of Thessalonica; having been converted by 
St Paul, he became his constant companion. He was with the apos¬ 
tle at Ephesus during a commotion raised in that city by Demetrius 
the silversmith. They both received ill-treatment upon this occasion 
from the people, which they bore with Christian patience, giving kind 
words in return for abuse. Aristarchus accompanied St Paul from 
Ephesus into Greece, where they were very successful in preaching 
the gospel and in convincing the people of the truths of Christianity. 
Having left Greece, they travelled over a great part of Asia, and made 
a considerable stay in Judea, where they made many converts. 

After this, Aristarchus went with St Paul to Rome, where he 
suffered the same fate as the apostle, being seized as a Christian, 
and beheaded by command of the emperor Nero. 


Trophimus, an Ephesian by birth, was converted by St Paul to 
the Christian faith and accompanied his master on his missions to 
foreign lands. He was with St Paul during his last visit to Jeru¬ 
salem ; at which time there was a violent outbreak against the apos¬ 
tle, by the Jews, who supposed that he had brought Trophimus, a 



Greek, into the temple. Lysias, the captain of the guard, interfered 
and rescued St. Paul by force from the hands of his enemies. 

Leaving Jerusalem, Trophimus went with St. Paul first to Rome, 
and then to Spain. When passing through Gaul, the apostle made 
him bishop of that province, and left him in the city of Arles. About 
a year after, he paid a visit to St. Paul in Asia, and went with him, 
for the last time, to Rome, where he was a witness to his martyrdom. 
This was but the forerunner of his own death; for being soon after 
seized on account of his faith, he was beheaded by order of Nero. 

Erastus, the Chamberlain of Corinth. 

Erastus was converted by St. Paul, and determined to forsake 
all and follow him. For this reason he resigned his office, and 
accompanied St. Paul in his voyages and travels, till the latter left 
him in Macedonia, where he was first made bishop of that province 
by the Christians; and afterward suffered martyrdom, being tortured 
to death by the heathen at Philippi. 


Joseph, commonly called Barsabas, was one of Christ’s disciples. 
At the time when an apostle was to be chosen to fill the place of 
Judas Iscariot, lots were cast to decide whether it should be Joseph 
or Matthias; and the lot fell on Matthias. After this Joseph preached 
the gospel in various parts of Judea, suffering many hardships, and 
was at last slain there, together with many of his converts. 

Ananias, Bishop of Damascus. 

This man is mentioned in the Acts as the one who cured St. Paul 
of the blindness caused by the miraculous brightness which shone 
down upon him at his conversion. Ananias was one of the seventy. 
He was martyred in the city of Damascus. After his death, a Chris¬ 
tian church was built over the place of his burial; this has since been 
changed into a Turkish mosque. 



The punishment of the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem, 
which had been prophesied by Moses and the prophets hundreds 
of years before, took place between the reigns of the Roman em¬ 
perors Nero and Domitian. 

Being taxed very heavily by the Roman governor sent to rule 
over them, the Jews rose in rebellion against him. The governor 
of Syria marched with his army against Jerusalem, but did not try 
to take it at once, as he had not soldiers enough. In the mean¬ 
time Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, the successor of St. James, escaped 
with all the Christians who lived in the city, to Pella, a town among 
the hills, and thus they were providentially spared from suffering the 
dreadful fate of the Jews who remained in Jerusalem. 

Sufferings during the Siege. 

In the terrible siege which was soon begun the Romans surrounded 
the walls of the city, cut off all supplies of food from the starving in¬ 
habitants, and kept up a continual fire of heavy stones and arrows 
from the great bow-like machines which were then used in attacking 
walled towns. 

Pestilence raged in almost every house; there was scarcely any 
food or drink to be had; and the wretched Jews, instead of hold¬ 
ing together and attacking their common enemy, fought among 
themselves. Still the stricken city held out, and a Roman general 
named Vespasian was sent to take command of the Roman army, 

but the emperor Nero dying at this time by his own hand, to escape 




the swords of his enraged subjects, Vespasian was made emperor and 
went back to Rome. Titus, the son of Vespasian, was left in charge 
of the army outside the walls of Jerusalem. 

It was the time of the passover. Titus at first tried to make peace 
with the Jews, but they would not listen to him, and the siege was 
begun again. The famine grew worse, and lawless mobs ranged the 
streets, breaking into every house in which they thought food could 
be had. It is related that one of these bands, being attracted by the 
smell of roasting flesh, broke into a grand dwelling belonging to a 
lady of high rank. With fierce threats they demanded food, but 
turned away in horror when she pointed to the fire—upon which 
lay cooking, part of the body of her own little child. 

Fall of Jerusalem and Destruction of the Temple. 

At last the Romans broke through the wall, and entered the city. 
The Jews fled from the soldiers in the streets, and took refuge in 
the temple, where they determined to make a final stand; probably 
hoping to the last that the Messiah would appear and save them. But 
alas! they had rejected Christ long before, when He would have led 
them, victorious, toward a heavenly kingdom; and this was the time 
of judgment. The Romans fought their way up the marble steps 
of the splendid building, which were slippery with blood, and covered 
with the bodies of the slain. Titus hoped to take the temple without 
destroying it—for the beautiful structure was one of the wonders of 
the world; but a soldier threw a torch through one of the golden 
latticed windows, and soon the rich curtains and hangings were 
ablaze. Titus had only time to glance in upon the rich marble and 
golden interior of the temple, and to save a few of such treasures as 
could be quickly carried away, when the flames drove him out, and 
soon afterward the magnificent building fell in ruins. Thus the tem¬ 
ple built by Herod, to construct which eighteen thousand men had 
labored nine years, was utterly destroyed. 



Cruelty of the Romans. 

The Romans took terrible vengeance upon the Jews for their 
stubborn resistance. Great numbers were crucified, and the rest 
were either taken to the circular theatres in different cities of the 
empire, to fight with wild beasts, or were sold as slaves. So numer¬ 
ous were those carried into slavery that at last, cheap as they were, 
no one could be found to buy them. Yet, although scattered over 
the whole world, and without a country or a leader, the nation still 
survived—and to this day survives, to fulfil the prophecy made of it. 

Treasures of the Temple carried to Rome. 

The city of Jerusalem was utterly destroyed. Such treasures as 
had been saved from the burning temple—the golden table for shew- 
bread, the seven-branched candlestick, and the silver trumpets—were 
taken to Rome. There they were carried in the splendid procession, 
or triumph, with which Vespasian and Titus celebrated the victory 
they had gained. Carvings of these temple treasures were chiselled 
upon the stone front of a triumphal arch built in honor of Titus. 
This arch is still standing at Rome, and the carved representations 
of the sacred vessels are yet plainly to be seen upon it. After 
Vespasian’s death, Titus, his son, was made emperor of Rome. 
When Titus died, his brother, Domitian, became emperor, who soon 
after taking the throne began one of those dreadful persecutions of 
the Christians which have made the names of some of the Roman 
emperors fearful to all time. 


Domitian was a cruel and savage tyrant who not only persecuted 
the Christians, but also put to death some of the chief citizens of 
Rome. To get money to pay for the games and entertainments he 



gave to amuse the people, the rich were plundered of a large part 
of their wealth. 

Many were the accusations brought against the followers of Christ. 
They were charged with holding disorderly, nightly meetings; with 
being of a rebellious, turbulent spirit; of murdering their children, 
and even of being cannibals. If famine, or pestilence, or earthquakes 
afflicted any of the Roman provinces, these calamities were said to 
have been sent by the gods to punish the Christians. The perse¬ 
cutions naturally enough increased the number of informers; and 
many false witnesses, for the sake of gain, swore away the lives of 
the innocent. When Christians were brought before the magistrates, a 
test oath was administered, and if they refused it, death was pronounced 
against them. If they confessed themselves Christians, the sentence 
was the same. The various kinds of punishments and cruelties in¬ 
flicted were imprisonment, racking, burning, scourging, stoning, hang¬ 
ing, and worrying by wild beasts. Many were forced to fall headlong 
from high places, and others were thrown upon the horns of wild bulls. 
After having perished under these cruelties, the poor privilege of 
burying the dead bodies was refused their friends. 

The following are some of the martyrs who suffered death during 
this persecution. 

Dionysius the Areopagite, and Others. 

Dionysius was an Athenian by birth, who was educated in all the 
useful and ornamental literature of Greece. He travelled to Egypt 
to study astronomy, and made very particular observations on an 
eclipse of the sun which took place at this time. On his return to 
Athens, he was highly honored by the people, and at length pro¬ 
moted to the dignity of senator of that celebrated city. Becoming 
a convert to the gospel, he was changed from the proud heathen 
senator to the humble follower of Christ. Even while in the dark¬ 
ness of idolatiy, he had been just to all men; and now, after his con- 



version, the sanctity of his conversation and purity of his manners 
recommended him so strongly to the Christians in general that he 
was appointed bishop of Athens. He filled this high office until 
the second year of this persecution, when he was seized and soon 
afterward received the crown of martyrdom by being beheaded with 
the sword. 

Timothy, Bishop of Ephesus. 

Timothy, the disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, was 
born at Lystra, in Asia Minor. His father was a Gentile, and his 
mother a Jewess; but both became Christians, and he was taught 
the precepts of the gospel from his youth up. 

Upon St. Paul's arrival in Asia he ordained Timothy, and then 
made him the companion of his labors. He mentions him with par¬ 
ticular affection, and declares that he could find no one so truly 
united to him, both in heart and mind. Timothy attended St. Paul 
to Macedonia, where, with that apostle and Silas, he labored in 
spreading the gospel. 

When St. Paul went to Greece, Timothy was left behind to encour¬ 
age and sustain those already converted, and to bring others to the 
true faith. St. Paul at length sent for him to come to Athens, and 
then to Thessalonica, to uphold the faith of the suffering Chris¬ 
tians during the terrors of the persecution which prevailed. 

Timothy performed his mission, and returned to Athens, and 
there assisted St. Paul and Silas in composing the two epistles to 
the Thessalonians; he then accompanied St. Paul to Corinth, Jeru¬ 
salem, and Ephesus. After carrying on the work of the ministry 
with great zeal and ability, and attending St. Paul on various jour¬ 
neys, Timothy was made bishop of Ephesus, though he was then 
only thirty years of age. St. Paul, in two admirable epistles, gave 
him proper instructions for his conduct. 

While St. Paul was in prison at Rome he desired Timothy to 
come to him; afterward he returned to Ephesus, where he governed 



the church till the year 97. At this time the heathen were about to 
celebrate a feast, the principal ceremonies of which were that the 
people should carry wands in their hands, go masked, and bear 
about the streets the images of their gods. When Timothy met 
the procession, he reproved them for their idolatry, which so angered 
them that they fell upon him with their sticks, and beat him in so 
dreadful a manner that he died of the bruises two days after. 

Simeon, Bishop of Jerusalem, and Other Martyrs. 

Among those who suffered at this time were Simeon, bishop of 
Jerusalem, who was crucified, and Flavia, the daughter of a Roman 
senator, who was banished to Pontus. 

Nicomedes, a Christian of some distinction at Rome during the 
reign of Domitian, made great efforts to serve the afflicted; he com¬ 
forted the poor, visited those confined, exhorted the wavering, and 
confirmed the faithful. For this he was seized as a Christian, and 
being sentenced, was scourged to death. 

Protasius ^nd Gervasius were martyred at Milan; but the manner 
of their deaths is not recorded. 


Nerva, who succeeded Domitian, only reigned thirteen months. 
Trajan then became emperor, and began the third persecution against 
the Christians. 

While it was raging we are told that Plinius Secundus, a heathen 
philosopher, wrote to the emperor in favor of the Christians, saying 
that he found no harm in them, and 'That the whole sum of their 
error consists in this, that they are wont, at certain times appointed, 
To meet before day, and to sing certain hymns to one Christ their 
God; to promise to abstain from all theft, murder, and crime; to 
keep their faith and to defraud no man. This being done, they 



gather together to take bread and wine, and then quietly depart, 
without committing any evil act.” 

To this letter Trajan returned this uncertain reply: That Chris¬ 
tians need not be sought after, but when brought before the magis¬ 
trates they should be punished.” Provoked by this answer, Tertul- 
lian exclaimed, O unjust sentence ! he would not have them hunted 
down, because they are innocent men, and yet will punish them 
the same as the guilty.” The emperor’s meaningless reply, how¬ 
ever, caused the persecution in some measure to abate, as his 
officers were uncertain, if they carried it on with too much severity, 
how he might choose to explain his own order. 

Cruel Tortures of Phocas and Others. 

Phocas, bishop of Pontus, refusing to sacrifice to Neptune, was 
first cast into a burning limekiln, and being drawn from thence, was 
thrown into a scalding bath, where he expired. 

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was also put to death at the same 
time. There was a tradition that this holy man, had, when a child, 
been the one who was taken into Christ’s arms and shown to the 
disciples as an example of innocence and humility. He received 
the gospel afterward from St. John the Evangelist, and was exceed¬ 
ingly earnest in his mission. He boldly defended the faith of Christ 
before the emperor, for which he was cast into prison, and tormented 
in the following dreadful manner. 

After being cruelly scourged, splinters dipped in oil were put to 
his sides, and set alight. His flesh was then mangled with pincers, 
and at last his body was torn in pieces by wild beasts. 

Ignatius seems to have had a knowledge of what his terrible fate 
was to be; for, writing to Polycarpus at Smyrna, he says, “Would to 
God I were at once come to the beasts which are prepared for me; 
which also I wish were ready to come upon me with gaping mouths; 
them will I provoke that they without delay may devour me.” 



A Widow and Her Sons are Slain. 

Symphorosa, a \\'idow, and her sev^en sons, were commanded by 
Trajan to sacrifice to the heathen gods. Refusing to obey, the em¬ 
peror, greatly enraged, ordered the woman to be carried to the tem¬ 
ple of Hercules, where she was scourged, and hung up for some 
time by the hair of her head. A large stone was then fastened to 
her neck, and she was thrown into the river and drowned. 

Her sons were fastened to seven posts, and being drawn up by 
ropes and pulleys, their limbs were dislocated. These terrible tor¬ 
tures not affecting their resolution, they were then slain in the fol¬ 
lowing manner: Crescentius, the eldest, was stabbed in the throat; 
Julian, the second, in the breast; Nemesius, the third, in the heart; 
Primitius, the fourth, in the middle; Justice, the fifth, in the back; 
Stacteus, the sixth, in the side; and Eugenius, the youngest, was 
sawn asunder. 

Alexander, Bishop of Rome, and Others. 

About this time Alexander, bishop of Rome, after filling that 
office for ten years, was maiiyTed, as were his Iavo deacons, with 
many thousands of other Christians. 

Eustachius, a brave and successful Roman commander, was ordered 
by the emperor to join in an idolatrous sacrifice, to celebrate some of 
his own victories; but his faith was so great, that he nobly refused to 
obey. Enraged at his disobedience, the ungrateful emperor, forgetting 
the seiAuces of his brave and skilful officer, sentenced him, with his 
whole family, to be slain. 

It is told that, during the martyrdom of two brothers, named 
Faustines and Jovita, their torments were so many, and their patience 
so great, that Calocerius, a heathen man, was struck with admiration, 
and exclaimed, in a kind of ecstasy, “ Great is the God of the Chris¬ 
tians r—for which he was at once put to death by the crowd which 
had gathered together to witness the barbarous spectacle. 



The Christians Appeal to Hadrian. 

Hadrian, who became emperor when Trajan died, was appealed 
to by Quadratus, bishop of Athens, to spare the Christians. He 
listened to the bishop’s explanation of their faith, and was so struck 
by it that he stopped the persecution. He indeed went so far as to 
command that no Christian should be punished on the score of 
religion or opinion only; but their enemies then began to hire 
false witnesses, to accuse them of crimes against the state or civil 

Anthia, a Christian woman, who gave her son Eleutherius to 
Anicetus, bishop of Rome, to be brought up in the Christian faith, 
was afterward beheaded with her son. Justus and Pastor, two 
brothers, also met a like fate in a city of Spain. 

Hadrian died in the year 138, having ordered the cessation of 
the persecutions against the Christians some years before his death. 

Antoninus Pius. 

Antoninus Pius succeeded Hadrian. He was so good a monarch 
that his people gave him the title of “ The Father of Virtues.” Im¬ 
mediately upon his accession to the throne, he published an edict 
ending with these words: “ If any hereafter shall vex or trouble 
the Christians, having no other cause but that they are such, let 
the Christians be released, and their accusers punished.” 

This stopped the persecution, and the Christians enjoyed a rest 
from their sufferings during this emperor’s reign, though their enemies 
took eveiy occasion to do them what injuries they could. The piety 
and goodness of Antoninus were so great, that he used to say that 
he would rather save one innocent man than destroy a thousand 
of his adversaries. 



A. D. 163. 

Antoninus Pius was succeeded by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 
Verus, who, although a good and virtuous ruler, seems to have been 
ignorant of, or else indifferent to, the sufferings of the Christians, 
particularly in Asia and in Gaul. In both of these countries num¬ 
bers of them were martyred in this fourth persecution. 

Such were the cruelties then practised that it is said many of the 
spectators shuddered with horror at the sight, and were astonished 
at the courage of the sufferers. Some of the martyrs were obliged 
to pass, with their already wounded feet, over thorns, nails, or sharp 
shells. Others were scourged till their sinews and veins lay bare. 
After suffering the most excruciating tortures, they were finally 
put to death by fire. 

Story of Polycarpus. 

Polycarpus, a follower and convert of St. John the Evangelist, 
had served in the ministry of Christ for sixty years. The circum¬ 
stances which led up to the cruel martyrdom of this aged disciple, 
then in his eighty-sixth year, are thus told by an ancient historian: 

A young Christian man, named Germanicus, being sentenced to 
be torn to pieces by wild beasts on account of his faith, behaved 
with such astonishing courage, that several of the spectators be¬ 
came converted on the spot to a faith which inspired such fortitude. 
This enraged others so much, that they cried out, “ Death to the 

Christians V In the disturbance which followed a certain Phrygian, 




named Quintus, lately arrived from his own country, was so much 
affected by the ravenous howls of the wild beasts, that he rushed to 
the judgment-seat and ’denounced the judges. For this he was at 
once put to death. Some enemies to the Christians then began 
suddenly to cry out, Destroy all the wicked men! let Polycarpus 
be sought for!” and soon a great uproar and tumult began to be 

Polycarpus, hearing that he was in great danger, escaped, but his 
hiding-place was discovered by a child. From this circumstance, 
and having dreamed that his bed suddenly became on fire, and was 
consumed in a moment, he concluded that it was God’s will he 
should suffer martyrdom. He therefore did not attempt to make a 
second escape when he had an opportunity of doing so, and those 
who took him were amazed at his serene and cheerful countenance. 
After feasting them, he desired an hour for prayer, which being 
allowed, he prayed with such ferv^ency that his guards repented that 
they had come for him. He was, however, at once carried before 
the proconsul, condemned to be burned alive, and led to the market¬ 

The holy man still earnestly prayed to heaven, after being bound 
to the stake. Fire was set to the wood, and the flames grew hot; 
the executioners gave way on both sides, as the heat was intolera¬ 
ble. But all this time the martyr sang praises to God in the midst 
of the flames, remaining for a long time unconsumed therein, and 
the burning of the wood spread a fragrance around. Astonished at 
this miracle, but determined to put an end to his life, the guards 
struck spears into his body, when the quantity of blood that issued 
from the wounds of their victim put out the flames. After many 
attempts, however, they put him to death, and burned the dead body 
which they had not been able to consume while alive. This extraor¬ 
dinary event had such an effect upon the people, that they began to 
worship Polycarpus as a god. 



Story of a Roman Mother and Her Sons. 

Felicitatas, a Roman lady of high rank and great ability, was a 
devout Christian. She had seven sons, whom she had educated 
with the most pious care. The empire being about this time griev¬ 
ously troubled with earthquakes, famine, and floods, the Christians 
were accused of causing these disasters, and Felicitatas was included 
in the accusation. The lady and her family being seized, the em¬ 
peror gave orders to Publius, the Roman governor, to proceed 
against her. 

At the examination and trial Publius began with the mother, 
thinking that if he could persuade her to change her religion, the 
example would have great influence with her sons. Finding her 
firm, he changed his entreaties to threats, telling her that he would 
destroy her and her family; but she despised his threats as she had 
done his promises. Publius then caused her sons to be brought 
before him, whom he examined separately. They all, however, re¬ 
mained steadfast in their faith, and alike in their opinions. The whole 
family were then condemned to die. Januarius, the eldest, was 
scourged and pressed to death with weights; Felix and Philip, the 
two next, had their brains dashed out with clubs; Sylvanus, the 
fourth, was destroyed by being thrown from a precipice; and the 
three younger sons, Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis, were all be¬ 
headed. The mother was at last slain with the same sword that 
had ended the lives of her three sons. 

Justin is Martyred, 

Justin, the celebrated philosopher, fell a victim to this persecution. 
He was born at Neapolis, in the year 103. He had the best educa¬ 
tion those times would afford, and travelled into Egypt, the country 
to which well-born young men of that time usually went for im¬ 
provement and study. 

When Justin was thirty years of age, he became a convert to 


Christianity. He wrote an epistle to the Gentiles, to convert them 
to the faith he had newly acquired, and lived so pure and innocent 
a life that he well deserved the title of a Christian philosopher. He 
likewise employed his talents in convincing the Jews of the truth 
of the Christian religion, and spent much time in travelling, till he 
took up his residence in Rome. He there instructed the young 
and taught many who afterward became great men; he also wrote 
a treatise against heresies of all kinds. 

When the heathen began to treat the Christians with great cruelty 
Justin wrote his first apology in their favor, and addressed it to the 
emperor Antoninus, and to the senate and people of Rome in gen¬ 
eral. This apology, which caused the emperor'to publish an edict 
in favor of the Christians, displays great learning and genius. 

After this Justin entered into a public debate with Crescens, a 
cynic philosopher of vicious life but great talents. Justin defeated 
Crescens in argument, and in revenge the heathen philosopher de¬ 
termined to have the Christian brought to trial. This he was soon 
able to do, owing to the prominent part taken by Justin in defending 
Christians charged with refusing to sacrifice to the gods. 

Accused by Crescens, Justin and six of his companions were 
brought to trial. Being commanded to deny their faith, and sac¬ 
rifice to the idols, they refused to do either. They were there¬ 
fore condemned to be first scourged and then beheaded. 

About this time many other persons were slain for refusing to 
sacrifice to the image of Jupiter. In particular, Concordus, a deacon 
of the city of Spoleto, being dragged before the image, was ordered 
to worship it. He not only refused, but spit in its face; for which 
he was cruelly tormented, and afterward had his head cut off with 
a sword. 

The Prayer of Christian Soldiers brings Rain. 

At this time some of the northern nations having taken up arms 



against Rome, the emperor marched to encounter them, at the head 
of a large army. He was, ho\7ever, drawn into an ambush, and had 
reason to fear the loss of his whole force. Surrounded by enemies, 
and perishing with thirst, the troops were at their last extremity. 
As was then customary in times of great peril, the soldiers sacrificed 
to their gods; Jupiter, Mars, and all the heathen deities were called 
upon in vain. 

At last the men belonging to the Militine (or Thundering legion, 
as it was afterward called), who were all Christians, were asked to 
call upon their God for help. They at once moved away from the 
rest, knelt down upon the ground, and prayed earnestly. Awe¬ 
struck and astonished, the rest of the army looked on; while black 
clouds gathered, and a miraculous thunder-storm immediately began. 
A great quantity of rain fell, which being caught by the men, and fill¬ 
ing the ditches, afforded relief to the perishing army. The emperor, 
in his letter to the Roman senate wherein the expedition is described, 
after mentioning the dangers he had encountered, speaks of the Chris¬ 
tians in the following words: 

When I saw myself not able to attack our enemies, I craved 
aid of our gods; but finding no relief at their hands, and being 
surrounded by the enemy, I caused those men whom we call Chris¬ 
tians to be sent for. Upon being mustered, I found a considerable 
number of them. These, whom we once thought wicked men, we 
now believe to worship the true God in their hearts; for falling 
prostrate on the ground, they prayed not only for me, but for 
the army with me, beseeching God to help us in our extreme 
want of food and fresh water (for we had been five days with¬ 
out water, and in our enemies’ land, even in the midst of Ger¬ 
many). Falling on their faces, they prayed to a God unknown to 
me. Immediately there fell from heaven a most pleasant and cool 
shower; but amongst our enemies a great storm of hail, mixed 
with thunder and lightning, raged. Therefore we gave these men 

6 o 


leave to profess Christianity, lest by their prayers we be punished 

Cruel Treatment of the Christians of Gaul. 

We next find persecution raging in the provinces of the Roman 
empire. In Gaul, particularly at Lyons, the tortures to which many 
of the Christians were condemned almost exceed the power of 
description. All manner of punishments were adopted: banishment, 
plundering, hanging, and burning. Even the servants and slaves 
of Christians were racked and tortured, to make them accuse their 
masters and employers. The following were among the prominent 
persons put to death at this time : 

Vetius Agathus, a young man, having pleaded the Christian cause, 
was asked if he were a Christian; answering ‘Wes!” he was con¬ 
demned to death. Many, animated by this young man’s courage, 
boldly owned their faith, and suffered likewise. 

Blandinia, a woman of a weak constitution, being seized and tor¬ 
tured on account of her religion, received so much strength from 
heaven that her torturers became tired, and were surprised at her 
being able to bear her torments for so great a length of time, and 
with such resolution. 

Sanctus, a deacon of Vienne, was put to the torture, which he bore 
with great fortitude, and only cried, “ I am a Christian.” Red-hot 
plates of brass were placed upon those parts of his body which were 
tenderest, contracting the sinews; but he remained firm and was sent 
back to prison. Being brought out a few days afterward, his tor¬ 
mentors were astonished to find his wounds healed, and his person 
unscarred. They, however, again proceeded to torture him; but not 
being able at that time to take his life, they sent him to prison, where 
he remained for some time, and was at last beheaded. Biblides, a 
weak woman, who had been an apostate but returned to the faith, 
was mart>Ted, and bore her sufferings with great patience. 


6 l 

Attalus, of Pergamus, was another sufferer; and Photinus, the 
\’enerable bishop of Lyons, who was ninety years of age, was so 
abused by the enraged mob that he expired two days after in the 

Tortures Inflicted upon Christians at Lyons. 

At Lyons, some of the martyrs were compelled to sit in red- 
hot iron chairs till their flesh broiled. This barbarous punishment 
was inflicted upon Sanctus, already mentioned, and others. 

Others were sewed up in nets, and thrown on the horns of wild 
bulls. The bodies of those who died in prison, previous, to the ap¬ 
pointed time of execution, were thrown to dogs; indeed, so far did 
the malice of the heathen extend, that they set guards over the 
bodies while the beasts were devouring them, lest the friends of the 
dead should get them by stealth. 

Sufferings of Epipodius and Alexander. 

Besides the martyrs of Lyons, many others suffered in different 
parts of the empire. Among these were Epipodius and Alexander, 
celebrated for their great friendship and their Christian union. The 
former was born at Lyons, the latter in Greece; they were of mutual 
assistance to each other in the practice of Christian virtues and god¬ 

At the time the persecution first began to rage at Lyons, they 
were in the prime of life, and to avoid its severities they tried to 
save their lives by hiding in a neighboring village. Here they were 
for some time concealed by a Christian widow. But the malice of 
their persecutors pursued them to their place of concealment, and 
they were committed to prison without examination. After three 
days they were brought before the governor, and examined in the 
presence of a crowd of heathen, before whom they confessed the 
divinity of Christ. Upon this the governor, being enraged at what 



he termed their insolence, said, What signify all the former execu¬ 
tions, if some yet remain who dare acknowledge Christ, and refuse 
to sacrifice to the ancient gods ?” 

They were then separated, so they should not console each other, 
and the governor began to tempt Epipodius, the younger of the 
two. He pretended to pity his condition, and advised him not to 
ruin himself by obstinacy. Our gods,” continued he, are wor¬ 
shipped by the greater part of the people in the world, and by their 
rulers; we adore them with feasting and mirth, while you praise 
a crucified man. We honor them by launching into pleasures; you, 
by your faith, are debarred from all that indulges the senses. Our 
religion enjoins feasting, yours fasting; ours the joys of life, yours 
the barren virtue of chastity. Therefore, I advise you to renounce 
a religion of such severity, and to enjoy those gratifications which 
the world affords, and which your youthful years demand.” 

Epipodius said in reply, ‘Wour pretended tenderness is actual 
cruelty; and the agreeable life you describe is followed by everlast¬ 
ing death. Christ suffered for us, that our pleasures should be 
immortal, and hath prepared for his followers an eternity of bliss. 
The frame of man is composed of two parts, body and soul; the 
first is weak and perishable, and should be servant to the latter. 
Your idolatrous feasts may gratify the mortal, but they injure the 
immortal part. That surely cannot be enjoyment, which destroys the 
most valuable part of man. Your pleasures lead to eternal death; 
our pains, to eternal happiness.” 

For these brave words Epipodius was severely beaten, and then 
put to the rack. Upon this he was cruelly stretched ; after having 
borne his torments with wonderful patience, he was taken from the 
rack and beheaded. 

Alexander, his companion, was brought before the judge, two 
days after, and on his resolute refusal to renounce Christianity, he 
was likewise placed on the rack and beaten by three executioners, 


who relieved each other alternately until he expired, yet he bore his 
sufferings with as much coinage as his friend had done. 

Account of Valerian and Marcellus. 

Valerian and Marcellus, two young men who were nearly related 
to each other, were imprisoned at Lyons for being Christians. By 
some means they made their escape, and travelled different roads. 
Marcellus made several converts in the territories of Besangon and 
Chalons; but, being taken, he was carried before Priscus, the gov¬ 
ernor of those parts. 

This magistrate, knowing Marcellus to be a Christian, ordered 
him to be fastened to some branches of a tree, which were drawn 
down for that purpose. When he was tied to different branches, 
they were let go, with the intention of tearing him to pieces by the 
sudden jerks. But this invention failing, he was taken down and 
carried to Chalons, to be present at some idolatrous sacrifices. Re¬ 
fusing to assist at these, he was put to the torture, and afterward 
fixed up to his waist in the ground, in which terrible position he 
remained for three days, when death released him from misery. 

Valerian was also seized, and, by the order of Priscus, was first 
brought to the rack, and then beheaded, in the same year as his 
relation Marcellus. 

In the year 180 the Emperor Marcus Aurelius died, and was suc¬ 
ceeded by his son Commodus. 

Apollonius Accused by His Slave. 

In the reign of the emperor Commodus, Apollonius, a Roman 
senator, became a martyr. This eminent man was versed in all the 
polite literature of those times, as well as in the pure precepts of 
the religion of Christ. He was accused by his own slave Severus, 
which act was made possible by an unjust and forgotten, but unre¬ 
pealed, law of the emperor Trajan. 



This law condemned the accused to die, unless he changed his 
religion; but, at the same time, ordered the execution of the accuser 
for slander. Apollonius, upon this ridiculous statute, was brought 
to trial; for though his slave, Severus, knew he must die for the 
accusation, yet such was his hatred and thirst for revenge, that he 
was willing to lose his own life if he could but make sure of the 
death of his master. 

As Apollonius refused to change his opinions, he was, by order 
of the Roman senators, to whom he had appealed, condemned to 
be beheaded. This sentence was carried out; and his accuser, hav¬ 
ing first had his legs broken, was then also put to death. 

Three Hundred Christians are Burned. 

One of the most dreadful events recorded in the history of Chris¬ 
tian martyrdom, both on account of the number of the victims sac¬ 
rificed and the terrible manner of their deaths, took place at Utica, 
the greatest city, except Carthage, of ancient Africa. 

By the order of the proconsul, three hundred Christians were 
ranged around a burning limekiln. An altar was also set up near 
at hand, and the people were commanded either to sacrifice to the 
heathen gods, or to suffer the terrible penalty of being cast into the 
burning kiln. Wonderful to relate, the three hundred martyrs not 
only refused to sacrifice, but with one accord leaped forward to meet 
the fiery death which their enemies had prepared for them. 

Other Martyrs Perish. 

Fructuosus, bishop of Tarragon, on the east coast of Spain, and 
his two deacons, Augurius and Eulogius, for avowing themselves 
Christians, were burned alive. Malchus, Alexander, and Priscus, 
three Christians of Palestine, with a woman of the same place, vol¬ 
untarily confessed that they were Christians; for which they were 
condemned to be devoured by tigers. 


EMPERORS, A. D. 200. 

The emperor Commodus was succeeded by Pertinax, and he by 
Julianus, each of whom reigned but a short time. On the death of 
the last, Severus became emperor. After he had obtained the throne 
he fell ill, and would have died but for the skill of a Christian physi¬ 
cian ; so he became a great favorer of Christians in general, and even 
permitted his son, Caracalla, to be nursed by a Christian woman. 

It therefore happened that the Christians had for several years 
a rest from persecution, and could worship God without fear of 
being punished for it. But after a time the hatred of the ignorant 
mob again prevailed, and the old laws were remembered and put 
in force against them. Fire, sword, wild beasts, and imprisonments, 
were once more resorted to; and even the dead bodies of Christians 
were torn from their graves, and subjected to every insult. Yet so 
greatly did the faithful multiply, in spite of the attacks of their 
enemies, that Tertullian, who lived in this age, tells us that if the 
Christians had all gone away from the Roman territories, the empire 
would have been greatly weakened. 

Leonidas, the father of the celebrated Origen, whose story is told 
further on, was beheaded for being a Christian. Before his execution, 
the son, in order to encourage his father, wrote to him in these re¬ 
markable words: “Do not, dear father, let your care for us change 
your resolution.’' Many of Origen’s friends likewise suffered mar¬ 
tyrdom, among them two brothers, named Plutarchus and Serenus; 

5 65 



two others, named Heron and Heraclides, were beheaded; a woman 
named Rhais had boiling pitch poured upon her head, and was then 
burned alive, as was also Marcella her mother. 

Conversion of a Roman Officer. 

Potamiena, the sister of Rhais, was executed in the same manner 
as the others. But Basilides, an officer belonging to the army, who 
had been ordered to attend her execution, became a convert on 
witnessing her fortitude. When he was required to take a certain 
oath, he refused, saying that he could no longer swear by the Roman 
idols, as he was a Christian. 

The people could not, at first, believe what they heard; but he 
had no sooner proved that his words were true, than he was dragged 
before the judge, committed to prison, and on the next day beheaded. 

Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, was born in Greece, and received a 
Christian education. It is generally supposed that the accounts of 
the persecutions at Lyons were written by him. He succeeded the 
martyr Photinus as bishop of Lyons, and ruled his diocese with 
great ability until he, too, was slain. Irenaeus was a zealous opposer 
of heresies in general, and wrote a celebrated tract against heresy. 

The Story of Perpetua. 

The persecutions about this time extended to northern Africa, 
then a Roman province, and many persons were martyred. One 
of these was Perpetua, a married lady of about twenty-six years 
of age, with a young child at her breast. She was seized for being 
a Christian, and her father, who tenderly loved her, went to the 
prison during her confinement, and attempted to persuade her to 
renounce Christianity. Perpetua, however, resisted every entreaty. 
This resolution so much grieved her father, that he did not visit her 
again for some days, and in the meantime, she and some others who 
were shut up in the prison were baptized. 



On being taken before the proconsul Miiuitius, Perpetua was com¬ 
manded to sacrifice to the idols. Refusing to do this, she was put in 
a dark dungeon, and deprived of her child; but two of the keepers, 
Tertius and Pomponius, who had the care of persecuted Christians, 
allowed her some hours daily to breathe the fresh air, during which 
time she was allowed to nurse her baby. Seeing, however, that 
she would not long be permitted this privilege, she begged her 
mother to care for it. Her father at length paid her a second 
visit, and again entreated her to renounce Christianity. But, firm 
in her faith, his daughter refused to be persuaded, and said to him, 
“ God’s will must be done.” He then, with an almost breaking 
heart, left her. 

After a few more days of imprisonment, the Christians were sum¬ 
moned to appear before the judge. One by one they were exhorted 
to forsake their religion and deny their Lord, but they one and all re¬ 
mained firm. When it came to Perpetua’s turn, suddenly her father 
appeared, carrying her child in his arms; he came near to the young 
mother, and pointing to the helpless little one, dependent on her for 
subsistence, entreated her to have compassion on her babe. Even 
the judge seemed to be moved, and added his persuasions to those 
of her father, Spare the gray hairs of your father,” he said ; '' spare 
your child. Offer sacrifice for the welfare of the emperor.” But Per¬ 
petua answered, “ I will not sacrifice.” “ Art thou a Christian ?” de¬ 
manded Hilarianus, the magistrate. “ I am a Christian,” was her 

Still her father continued his entreaties, until the judge, tired of 
his frequent interruptions, ordered him to be removed by the guards. 
He then passed sentence on the Christians; it was that they should 
be killed by wild beasts as a spectacle for the people on the next 

While in prison, awaiting their doom, the jailers freely admitted 
friends of the prisoners to see them, and among these came the 



unhappy father of Perpetua, who sat silently in his dumb grief. 
All this was bitterly hard for Perpetua to bear; but God did not 
leave his servants comfortless. During those days of awful expec¬ 
tation, they were cheered with many bright rays of consolation. 
Bright visions of heavenly glory came to many of them, and to 
Perpetua among the rest. At length the too swift, too tedious days 
wore away, and the dreaded time arrived. 

An attempt was made to dress the Christians in the profane robes 
of the priests and priestesses of heathen idols. Against this they 
protested, saying that it was to avoid such superstitions that they 
were willing to lay down their lives. Their enemies could not but 
see the justice of this appeal, and they were therefore spared this 
last insult. 

They came forward to the place of execution clad in the sim¬ 
plest robes, Perpetua singing a hymn of triumph. The men were 
to be torn to pieces by leopards and bears. Perpetua, and a 
young woman named Felicitas were hung up in nets, at first naked; 
but even the brutal assembly of spectators, who delighted in scenes 
of horror and blood, demanded that they should be allowed their 

When they were again put into the arena, a bull, goaded into 
mad fury, was let loose upon them. Felicitas fell mortally wounded. 
Perpetua was tossed, her loose robe rent, and her hair unbound. 
Drawing her robe over her once more, she hastened to the side of 
the dying Felicitas, and gently raised her from the ground. The 
savage bull made no further attack upon them, and they were 
dragged out of the arena. But soon the fierce multitude were 
heard clamoring that they should be brought back to receive their 
death-blow in public. Having kissed each other, they were led 
forth into the arena again, to be despatched by the sword. Per¬ 
petua fell into the hands of a young gladiator, unused to such 
scenes, who tremblingly wounded her ineffectually more than once. 



When she saw his emotion, she guided his sword with her own 
hand to a vital part, and so expired. 

Martyrs in the Arena. 

The names of three young men who were also martyred upon 
this occasion were Satur, Saturnius, and Secundulus. When their 
turn came, they were led to the amphitheatre. There, all had the 
courage to call for God’s judgment upon their persecutors; after 
which they were made to run the gauntlet between the hunters, 
who had the care of the wild beasts. These men were drawn up 
in two ranks, and the prisoners ran between; as they passed they 
were lashed and bruised, and afterward given to the tigers. 

False Charges against the Christians. 

Some of the crimes and false accusations brought against the 
Christians at this time were, sedition and rebellion against the em¬ 
peror, sacrilege, murdering of infants, and eating raw flesh. It was 
also objected against them that they worshipped the head of an 
ass; this story being invented by the Jews. They were charged 
also with worshipping the sun, either because when the sun rose 
they met together, singing their morning hymns to the Lord, or 
because they prayed toward the east. 

Speratus, and twelve others, were beheaded; as was Androclus, 
in Gaul. Asclepiades, bishop of Antioch, suffered many tortures, 
but his life was spared. Cecilia, a young Christian lady of good 
family in Rome, who was married to a young man named Valerian, 
succeeded in persuading her husband to become a Christian; and 
his conversion was followed by that of Tiburtius his brother. This 
being noised about, drew upon them all the vengeance of the laws. 
The two brothers were beheaded; and the officer who led them 
to execution, becoming their convert, suffered a similar death. 

The woman, being the leader, was doomed to die in the following 



dreadful manner. She was put into a scalding bath, and having re¬ 
mained there a while, her head was struck off with a sword. This 
took place in the year 222. 

Calistus, bishop of Rome, was martyred, but the manner of his 
death is not recorded; and Urban, bishop of Rome, met the same 

Agapetus, a boy of Praeneste, in Italy, who was only fifteen years 
of age, refusing to sacrifice to the idols, was severely scourged, and 
afterward beheaded. The officer, named Antiochus, who superin¬ 
tended this execution, while it was being done fell suddenly from 
his judicial seat, crying out in great pain, and so died there. 

EMPERORS, A. D. 235. 

The emperor Maximinus raised a persecution against the Christians, 
and ordered them to be hunted down and slain. A Roman soldier, 
who refused to wear a laurel crown bestowed on him by the emperor, 
and confessed himself a Christian, was scourged, imprisoned, and put 
to death. 

Pontianus, bishop of Rome, for preaching against idolatry, was 
banished to Sardinia, and there murdered. Anteros, a Grecian, who 
succeeded Pontianus as bishop of Rome, gave so much offence 
to the government by collecting the history of the martyrs, that, 
after having held his office only forty days, he suffered martyrdom 

Pammachius, a Roman senator, with his family, and other Chris¬ 
tians to the number of forty-two, were, on account of their religion, 
all beheaded in one day, and their heads set up on the city gates. 
Simplicius, another senator, suffered martyrdom in a similar way. 
Calepodius, a Christian minister, after being cruelly dragged about 
the streets, was thrown into the river Tiber with a millstone fastened 



about his neck. Quiritus, a Roman nobleman, with his family and 
servants, was barbarously tortured and put to death. Martina, a 
noble and beautiful virgin, suffered martyrdom by being beheaded; 
and Hippolitus, a Christian prelate, was tied to a wild horse, and 
dragged through fields, stony places, and bushes until he died. 

Christians Slain Without Trial. 

While this persecution continued, many Christians were slain with¬ 
out trial, and buried in heaps sometimes fifty or sixty being cast into 
a pit together. 

Maximinus was succeeded by Gordian, during whose reign, and 
that of his successor, Philip, the church was free from persecution 
for the space of more than six years. But in the year 249 a violent 
persecution broke out in Alexandria. It is, however, worthy of note 
that this was begun at the command of a pagan priest, without the 
emperor’s knowledge. At this time, the fury of the people being 
great against the Christians, the mob broke open their houses, car¬ 
ried away the most valuable part of their property, and destroyed 
the rest. They murdered the owners in great numbers, the gen¬ 
eral cry being, “ Burn them! kill them! Let not one escape!” 
The names of these martyrs ha\"e not been preserv^ed, with the ex¬ 
ception of the three following. 

Death of Metros and Others. 

Metrus, an aged and venerable Christian, who refused to worship 
idols, was beaten with clubs, pricked with sharp reeds, and at last 
stoned to death. Quinta, a Christian woman, being carried to the 
temple, and refusing to worship the idols there, was dragged by her 
feet over sharp flint stones, scourged with whips, and finally de¬ 
spatched in the same manner as Metrus. 

Apollonia, an old woman of nearly seventy years, confessed she 
was a Christian, and the mob threatened to burn her alive. A fire 



was accordingly prepared for the purpose, and she was fastened 
to a stake; but begging to be unloosed, she was set free, as the 
people thought she meant to recant, but to their astonishment 
she immediately threw herself back into the flames, and was con¬ 

EMPERORS, A. D. 249. 

In the reign of Decius, a dreadful persecution was begun against 
the Christians. This was caused partly by the hatred Decius bore 
to the previous emperor, Philip, who was favorable to the Christians, 
and partly to his jealousy being aroused by the amazing increase 
of Christianity. The heathen temples were almost forsaken, and the 
Christian churches crowded with converts. Decius, angered at this, 
attempted to crush them. Unfortunately for the cause of the gospel, 
many errors had, about this time, crept into the church. The Chris¬ 
tians were at variance with each other, and a number of disputes 
had arisen among them. The heathen, too, were of course anxious 
to enforce the imperial decrees, and looked upon the murder of a 
Christian as a praiseworthy act. 

Martyrdom of Fabian and Others. 

Fabian, bishop of Rome, was the first person of authorit}" who 
felt the severity of this persecution. The former emperor, Philip, 
had committed his treasure to the care of Fabian, on account of his 
well-known integrity; but Decius, not finding as much in the treas¬ 
ury as his avarice led him to expect, determined to wreak his ven¬ 
geance on the good bishop. His high position and great repu¬ 
tation did not save him; Fabian was seized, at the emperor’s com¬ 
mand, and suffered martyrdom by being beheaded. 

Abdon and Semen, two Persians, were held as strangers; but 



being found Christians, were put to death on account of their 
faith, Moyses, a priest, was beheaded for the same reason. 

Julian, a native of Cilicia, as we are informed by St. Chrysostom, 
was arrested for being a Christian. He was frequently tortured, but 
still remained firm; and though often brought from prison for execu- 
tipn, was again sent back, to suffer greater cruelties. At length he 
was made to travel for twelve whole months, from town to town, 
in order to be exposed to the insults of the populace. When all 
endeavors to make him recant his religion were found ineffectual, 
he was brought before his judge, stripped, and whipped in a dread¬ 
ful manner. He was then put into a leather bag, together with a 
number of serpents and scorpions, and in that condition thrown 
into the sea. 

Broken on the Wheel. 

Peter, a young man of superior qualities of body and mind, was 
seized as a Christian, and carried before Optimus, proconsul of Asia. 
On being commanded to sacrifice to Venus, he said, I maiwel that 
you sacrifice to an infamous woman, whose crimes even your own 
historians tell of, and whose life was filled with such actions as your 
laws would punish. No! I shall offer only to the true God the sac¬ 
rifice of prayers and praise.” 

Optimus, on hearing this, ordered him to be bound upon a wheel 
which was rolled over stones so that his bones were broken. But 
his torments only inspired him with fresh courage; he smiled on 
his executioners, and seemed, by the serenity of his countenance, 
not to upbraid, but to applaud them. At last the proconsul com¬ 
manded him to be beheaded; which was immediately done. 

Nichomachus, another Christian, on being ordered to sacrifice to 
the pagan idols, answered, “ I shall not pay that respect to devils 
which is due only to the Almighty.” This speech so much enraged 
Optimus, that Nichomachus was put to the rack. He bore the tor¬ 
ments, for some time, with patience and great resolution; but, at 



length, when ready to expire with pain, he had the weakness to 
abjure his faith, and become an apostate. It is related, however, 
that no sooner had he done this than he fell into the greatest an¬ 
guish of body and mind, dropped down, and expired immediately. 

Two Christians are Stoned. 

Andrew and Paul, two companions of Nichomachus, on confess¬ 
ing themselves Christians, were condemned to die, and delivered to 
the mob. They suffered martyrdom by stoning, and expired call¬ 
ing on their Lord. 

Alexander and Epimacus, of Alexandria, were seized for being 
Christians; and on confessing, were beaten with staves, torn with 
hooks, and at last burned. We are told by Eusebius that four 
female martyrs suffered on the same day and at the same place, 
but not in the same manner, as these were beheaded. 

The Story of Lucian and Marcian. 

Lucian and Marcian, two magicians, becoming converts to Chris¬ 
tianity, and repenting of their former evil lives, lived as hermits in 
a cave, and ate nothing but bread and water. After spending some 
time in this way, they reflected that their lives were being wasted, 
and made up their minds to leave their cave and tr}^ to convert 
others to Christianity. 

The persecution, however, raging at this time, they were seized 
and carried before Sabinus, the governor of Bithynia, in Asia Minor. 
On being asked by what authority they took it upon themselves to 
preach, Lucian answered: The laws of charity and humanity oblige 
all men to try to convert their fellows, and to do everything in their 
power to rescue them from the snares of the devil.’' 

Marcian said their change of heart was by the same grace given 
to St. Paul, who from a zealous persecutor of the church, be¬ 
came a preacher of the gospel. When the proconsul found that 



he could not prevail on them to renounce their faith, he condemned 
them to be burned alive, which sentence was soon after carried out. 

Trypho and Respicius, two eminent men, were seized as Christians, 
and imprisoned at Nice. They were soon after put to the rack, which 
they bore with admirable patience for three hours, uttering praises to 
the Almighty the whole time; they were then exposed naked in 
the chill air, which benumbed all their limbs. When taken back to 
prison, they remained there for a considerable time; after which 
the cruelties of their persecutors were further exercised upon them. 
Their feet were pierced with nails; they were dragged through the 
streets by a mob of angry men who clamored for their lives; then 
scourged, scorched with lighted torches, and at last beheaded. 

Sufferings of Agatha, a Lady of Sicily. 

Agatha, a Sicilian lady, was noted for her beauty and accomplish¬ 
ments ; her charms of person were indeed so great, that Quintain, 
governor of Sicily, became enamoured of her. The governor being 
notorious as an evil liver, the lady thought it prudent to leave the town, 
but was discovered in her retreat, and brought to Catana. Finding 
herself in the power of her enemy, she recommended herself to the 
protection of the Almighty, and prayed for death. As Agatha con¬ 
tinued firm in her refusal to listen to him, the cruel governor’s 
desire changed to hate; and, on her confessing that she was a 
Christian, he determined to gratify his revenge. 

Quintain, therefore, commanded that Agatha should be cruelly 
scourged. Having borne this torment with wonderful courage, she 
was then burned to death in a great fire. 

Martyrdom of Cyril. 

Cyril, bishop of Gortyna, in the island of Crete, was seized by 
the order of Lucius, the governor of that place. The governor 
advised him to obey the imperial command, perform the sacrifices. 



and save his venerable person from the fire; for he was then eighty- 
four years of age. 

The good bishop replied that he could not agree to any such 
requirements, and that he who had so long taught others to save 
their souls could not throw away his own salvation. When the gov¬ 
ernor found all his persuasions were in vain, he pronounced sentence 
against the venerable Christian, in these words: “ I order that Cyril, 
who has lost his reason, and is a declared enemy of our gods, shall 
be burned alive.” The good man heard this sentence without fear, 
walked to the place of execution, and bore his sufferings with great 

Other Persecutions in Crete. 

In the island of Crete the persecution raged with fury; the gov¬ 
ernor being exceedingly active in carrying out the imperial decrees, 
the place streamed with the blood of many Christians. The princi¬ 
pal martyrs whose names have come down to us are as follows; 
Theodulus, Saturnius, and Europus; these were citizens of Gor- 
tyna, who had been grounded in their faith by Cyril, bishop of that 
city. Eunicianus, Zeticus, Cleomenes, Agathopas, Bastides, and 
Euaristus, were brought from different parts of the island on accu¬ 
sations of professing Christianity. 

At the time of their trial they were commanded to sacrifice to 
Jupiter; refusing to do this, the judge threatened them with the 
severest tortures. They bravely answered, that to suffer for the 
sake of the Supreme Being would, to them, be the sublimest of 
pleasures. The judge then attempted to gain their respect for the 
heathen gods, by recounting their merits, and telling of some of 
their imaginary virtues. This gave the prisoners an opportunity 
of showing the absurdity of such stories, and of pointing out the 
folly of paying adoration to senseless statues. 

Provoked to hear his favorite idols ridiculed, the governor ordered 
them all to be put to the rack; the pains of which they sustained 



with surprising fortitude. They at length suffered martyrdom, being 
all beheaded at the same time. 

Babylas, Bishop of Antioch, and Others. 

Babylas, a Christian of excellent education, became bishop of 
Antioch in the year 237, on the death of Zebinus. He governed 
the church during those troublous times with admirable zeal and 
prudence. The first misfortune that happened to Antioch during 
his mission was the siege of the city by Sapor, king of Persia; who, 
having overrun all Syria, took and plundered this place among others, 
and tortured the Christians in all the horrible ways known to Eastern 
nations. His triumph, however, was not to last long. Gordian, the 
emperor, at the head of a powerful army, appeared and retook An¬ 
tioch. The Persians were driven entirely out of Syria, pursued into 
their own country, and several cities in Persia fell into the hands 
of the Romans. 

After Gordian’s death, in the reign of Decius, that emperor came 
to Antioch, where, having a desire to visit an assembly of Christians, 
Babylas opposed him, and refused to let him come in. The emperor 
hid his anger at the time; but soon sending for the bishop, he sharply 
reproved him for his insolence, and then ordered him, as a punishment, 
to sacrifice to the heathen gods. 

Refusing to do this, Babylas was committed to prison, loaded with 
chains, treated with great cruelty, and then beheaded. Three young 
men, who had been his pupils, were slain at the same time and with 
the same sword. On going to the place of execution, the bishop ex¬ 
claimed, “ Behold me and the children that the Lord hath given me.” 
The chains worn by the bishop in prison were buried with him. 

Execution of Alexander and Others. 

Alexander, bishop pf Jerusalem, about this time was cast into 
prison, where he died through the severity of his confinement; or. 




as some historians say, was burned to death with several other Chris¬ 
tians in a furnace. 

Serapion, a Christian, was seized at Alexandria. He had his bones 
broken, and was then thrown from the roof of a high building, and 
killed by the fall. 

Julianus, an old man, lame with the gout; and Cronion, another 
Christian, were bound on the backs of camels, severely scourged, 
and then thrown into a fire and consumed. A spectator who seemed 
to pity them was ordered to be beheaded, as a punishment. Macar, 
a Libyan Christian, was burned. Horon-Ater and Isodorus, Eg}"p- 
tians, with Dioschorus, a boy of fifteen, after suffering many other 
torments, met with a similar fate; and Nemesion, another Eg}"ptian, 
was first tried as a thief, but being acquitted, was accused of Chris¬ 
tianity. Confessing this, he was scourged, tortured, and finally burned. 
Ischyrian, the Christian ser\^ant of an Eg>^ptian nobleman, was run 
through with a spear by his own master, for refusing to sacrifice to 
idols. Venatius, a youth of fifteen, was martyred in Italy; and forty 
virgins, at Antioch, after being imprisoned and scourged, were de¬ 
stroyed by fire. 

The Emperor causes Seven Soldiers to be Starved. 

The emperor Decius, having erected a pagan temple at Ephesus, 
commanded all who were in that city to sacrifice to the idols. This 
order was nobly refused by seven of his own soldiers, Maximianus, 
Martianus, Joannes, Malchus, Dionysius, Constantinus, and Seraion. 
The emperor, wishing first to persuasion, gave them time to con¬ 
sider till he returned from a journey. But in the absence of the em¬ 
peror they escaped, and hid themselves in a cavern. Decius was told 
of this on his return, and the mouth of the cavern was closed up, so 
the seven soldiers all starved to death there. 

Fate of a Lady of Antioch. 

Theodora, a beautiful young lady of Antioch, on refusing to sacri- 



ficc to the Roman idols, was condemned to prison. Didymus, her 
lover, a Christian, then disguised himself in the habit of a Roman 
soldier, went to the cell in which Theodora had been confined, and 
persuaded her to make her escape in his armor. Didymus being 
found in the dungeon, instead of the lady, was taken before the gov¬ 
ernor, to whom he confessed the truth, and sentence of death was 
immediately pronounced against him. In the meantime, Theodora, 
hearing that her deliverer was likely to suffer, came to the judge, 
threw his feet, and begged that the sentence might fall 
only upon her as the guilty person, and not upon her lover. But 
the inhuman tyrant condemned them both, and they were executed 
accordingly, being first beheaded and their bodies afterward burned. 

Secundianus having been accused as a Christian, was conveyed 
to prison by some soldiers. On the way, Verianus and Marcellinus 
said, ‘'Where are you taking the innocent?” This question caused 
them to be seized, and all three, after having been tortured, were 
hanged. After they were dead their heads were cut off. 

Origen’s Narrow Escape from Death. 

Origen, the celebrated author and teacher of Alexandria, at the 
age of sixty-four, was seized, thrown into a loathsome prison, loaded 
with chains, and his feet placed in the stocks, which held his legs 
stretched widely apart. 

Although Origen is said by historians to have been learned, 
ingenious, temperate, and charitable, no mercy was shown him on 
that account. According to Jerome the books he had written 
amounted to an almost incredible number. Their sale, added to 
what he had gained by the instruction of boys, enabled him to 
support his mother and six brethren after the martyrdom of his 
father Leonidas. His great work called the Hexapla^ from its pre¬ 
senting six versions of the sacred text in as many columns, gave 

the first hint for Polyglot Bibles. 




Origen was threatened by fire, and tormented by every means that 
the most cruel men could suggest. His Christian fortitude bore him 
through all; though such was the rigor of his judge, that his tor¬ 
tures were ordered to be lingering, that death might not too soon 
put an end to his miseries. 

During the torture, however, the emperor Decius died, and Callus, 
who succeeded him, engaging in a war with the Goths, the Chris¬ 
tians met with a respite; thus Origen obtained his freedom, and 
going to Tyre, he there remained till his death, which took place 
in the sixty-ninth year of his age. 

The Christians are Accused. 

After the emperor Callus had ended the war with the Goths, a 
plague broke out in the empire; and sacrifices to the heathen gods 
were ordered, to appease their wrath. On the Christians refusing 
to join in these rites, they were charged with being the authors of 
the calamity. The persecution spread from the interior to the ex¬ 
treme parts of the empire, and many fell victims to the rabble. 

Cornelius, the Christian bishop of Rome, was, among others, 
seized during this persecution. He was first cruelly scourged, 
and then beheaded, after having been bishop for only fifteen months 
and ten days. 

Lucius, who succeeded Cornelius as bishop of Rome, was the 
son of Porphyrins, and a Roman by birth. His earnest zeal in 
the ministry made him hated by the foes of Christianity; he was 
therefore taken and beheaded. This bishop was succeeded by 
Stephanus, a man of fiery eloquence, who held the office a few 
years, and who would probably have fallen a martyr also, had not 
the emperor been murdered by his general .^milian. This act of 
violence was followed by a profound peace throughout the whole 
empire, and the persecution came to an end. 


EMPERORS, A. D. 257. 

After the death of Gallus, iEmilian, the general, was slain by 
his enemies in the army, and Valerian was raised to the throne. 
This emperor, for the space of four years, governed with modera¬ 
tion and treated the Christians kindly. But after a time an Egyptian 
magician, named Macrianus, gained great influence over him, and 
persuaded him to persecute them. Laws were accordingly made, 
and the persecution continued for three years and six months. 

During this time the martyrs who suffered were many, and their 
tortures various and terrible. 

Two Roman Ladies are Condemned. 

Rufina and Secunda, two beautiful and accomplished young women, 
were the daughters of a rich citizen of Rome, named Asterius. Rufina, 
the elder, was engaged to be married to a young nobleman, named 
Armentarius; and Secunda, the younger, to Verinus, who was also 
a man of rank. 

Both these young men called themselves Christians, but when 
the persecution began they renounced their faith and returned to 
the worship of the ancient gods. More courageous than their 
suitors, the young women firmly refused to renounce their faith, 
though urged to do so by all their acquaintances; at last, however, 
as a measure of safety, they were prevailed upon to leave the city 
and to take refuge in a country house some distance from Rome. 

But this did not save them, for they were soon found out and 




brought before the governor. After several trials, and cruel tortures, 
which they bore with unflinching heroism, the two young women 
were martyred, by being beheaded- with the sword. 

Martyrdom of Stephen, Bishop of Rome. 

About this time Stephen, bishop of Rome, was beheaded, and 
Saturnius, bishop of Toulouse, was attacked and seized by the rabble 
of that place, for preventing, as they thought, their oracles from speak¬ 
ing. On refusing to sacrifice to the idols, he was treated with great 
barbarity, and finally fastened by the feet to the tail of a bull. At a 
signal being given the enraged animal was driven down the steps 
of the temple, and the martyr’s brains dashed out. 

Among all the Christians who lived at Toulouse not one had the 
courage to carry away the dead body. At last two women took it 
up and buried it in a ditch. This martyr was a very learned man, 
and his writings were held in high esteem. 

Sextus, Bishop of Rome. 

Stephen was succeeded by Sextus as bishop of Rome. He is 
supposed to have been a Greek by birth. He served for some 
time in the capacity of a deacon under Stephen. His great fidelity, 
singular wisdom, and courage, distinguished him upon many occa¬ 
sions; and the successful termination of a bitter controversy with 
some heretics was due to his prudence. 

Macrianus, who at this time had the management of the Roman 
government, procured an order from the emperor Valerian to put to 
death all the Christian clergy at Rome, and the senate having ap¬ 
proved, Sextus was one of the first to fall a victim; he was be¬ 
headed, and six of his deacons suffered with him. 

The Story of St. Laurence. 

Laurentius, usually called St. Laurence, was archdeacon under 



Sextus, and when that bishop was led out to execution, Laurence 
accompanied and comforted him. As they parted from each other 
for the last time, Sextus warned his faithful follower that his mar¬ 
tyrdom would come soon after his own: that this prophecy was 
true is indicated by the tradition that has been handed down to 
us telling of his subsequent seizure and cruel death. 

The Christian church of Rome, even at this early period, had 
in its treasury considerable riches—both in money, and in gold and 
siRer vessels used at the services of the church. All these treasures 
were under the watchful eye of Laurence, the archdeacon. Besides 
maintaining its clergy, the church supported many poor widows and 
orphans; nearly fifteen hundred of these poor people, whose names 
Laurence kept upon his list, lived upon the charity of the church. 
Sums of money were also constantly needed to help struggling 
churches which had been newly established in distant parts of the 

Macrianus, governor of Rome under the emperor Valerian, had 
heard of these riches, and longed to seize them; he therefore sent 
soldiers to arrest Laurence, who was soon taken and dragged before 
the governor. As soon as Macrianus’ pitiless eyes rested upon the 
prisoner, he said harshly: 

I hear that you who call yourselves Christians possess treasures 
of gold and silver, and that your priests use golden vessels at your 
services. Is this true ? 

Laurence answered: The church, indeed, has great treasures. 

Then bring those treasures forth, said Macrianus. Do not your 
sacred books tell you to render unto Caesar the things that are 
Caesar’s ? The emperor has need of those riches for the defence 
of the empire; therefore you must render them up. 

After reflecting deeply for a few moments, Laurence replied: In 
three days I will bring before you the greatest treasures of the 



This answer satisfied the governor; so Laurence was set free, and 
Macrianus impatiently awaited the time when the expected stores of 
gold and silver should be placed before him. 

On the appointed day Macrianus, attended by his officers, came 
to the place where the Christians usually assembled. They were 
calmly received by Laurence at the entrance, and invited to pass 
into an inner room. 

Are the treasures collected? was the first question of Macrianus. 

They are, my lord, replied Laurence; will you enter and view them ? 

With these words he opened a door and displayed to the astounded 
gaze of the governor, the poor pensioners of the church, a chosen 
number—a row of the lame, a row of the blind, orphans and widows, 
the helpless and the weak. Astonished by the sight, the governor 
turned fiercely upon Laurence, saying: “What mean you by this 
mockery? Where are the treasures of gold and silver you prom¬ 
ised to deliver up?” 

These that you see before you, replied the undaunted Laurence, 
are the true treasures of the church. In the widows and orphans you 
behold her gold and her silver, her pearls and precious stones. These 
are her real riches. Make use of them by asking for their prayers ; 
they will prove your best weapons against your foes.. 

Enraged and disappointed at not securing the hoped-for gold 
(which had been carried to a place of safety during the three days 
that had elapsed), the governor furiously commanded his guards to 
seize Laurence and take him to a dungeon. There, terrible to relate, 
a great fire was built upon the stone floor, and a huge gridiron placed 
upon it; then the martyr was stripped of his clothing and thrown upon 
this fiery bed, to slowly perish in the scorching heat. 

The cruel tyrant gazed down upon this dreadful sight to gratify 
his hatred and revenge; but the martyr had strength and spirit to 
triumph over him even to the last. Not a murmur escaped him, 
but with his dying breath he prayed for the Christian church at 




Rome, and for the conversion of the entire empire to God; and so, 
lifting up his eyes to heaven, he gave up the ghost. 

A Roman soldier, named Romanus, who looked on at the suf¬ 
ferings of St. Laurence, was so much affected by the martyr's cour¬ 
age and faith that he became a convert to Christianity. As soon 
as this was known the soldier was severely scourged, and after¬ 
ward beheaded. 

The Story of Cyprian. 

For years the persecution of the Christians had raged in Africa, 
and many thousands of innocent persons had been slain. One 
of the most distinguished of the martyrs was Cyprian^ bishop of 

Cyprian belonged to a noble and wealthy family. He had been 
brought up from a child to believe in the ancient gods of heathen 
Rome. His talents were so great, he was so eloquent a speaker, 
and so practised in philosophy, that he was admired by all, and hun¬ 
dreds gladly listened to him whenever he chose to speak in public. 

Being very rich, Cyprian lived in great splendor. He dressed mag¬ 
nificently, feasted luxuriously, and he was vain of his position and 
fond of every kind of fashionable pleasure and parade. He appeared, 
indeed, to think that man was born only to gratify his appetites, and 
created to enjoy pleasures alone. But all this was to be changed; 
and from the proud, self-indulgent pagan, Cyprian was to become 
the humble follower of Christ. 

A man named Coecilius, a Christian of Carthage, was the means 
of Cyprian’s conversion. Owing to this, and to the great affection 
the distinguished convert afterward showed for his adviser, Cyprian 
came to be called Coecilius Cyprian. 

Before Cyprian’s baptism he studied the Scriptures with care, and 
being greatly impressed by their beauty and truth, determined to 
live the rest of his life in accordance with their precepts. He there- 



fore sold his estate, distributed the money among the poor, clothed 
himself plainly, and commenced a life of austerity and solitude. Soon 
after his baptism he was made a presbyter; and being greatly admired 
for his virtue and ability, he was, on the death of Donatus, elected 
bishop of Carthage. The care of Cyprian extended not only over 
Carthage, but to Numidia and Mauritania. It was Cyprian’s custom, 
before deciding upon any important action, to ask the advice of his 
clergy. He made it one of his maxims, that unity could only be 
preserved in the church by a close communion between the pastor 
and his flock. 

But at last, in spite of his useful and holy life, Cyprian was pointed 
out by his heathen enemies as a leader of the hated Christian band. 
Then followed demands for his arrest and trial ; and soon he was 
publicly charged with offences against the laws. A decree was issued 
against him by the emperor Decius, in which he was called Coecilius 
Cyprian, bishop of the Christians ; and then there began to be heard 
in the city which once heaped honors upon him, the terrible exy of 
Cyprian to the lions ! Cyprian to the beasts !” 

Urged by his friends to save himself by flight, before it was too 
late, Cyprian left the city and took up his abode in the desert, where 
he gathered about him a little company of Christians who had fled, 
like himself, from the fury of their enemies. Here they passed the 
tedious hours of exile in cultivating the barren soil of their place 
of refuge, and in praying for a better time for the church which 
they loved. 

After two years spent in this way, word was brought to them 
from Carthage that a terrible plague had broken out in the city, 
and that thousands of people were dying of the disease. A coun¬ 
cil was held, and it was decided that it was the duty of the little 
band to go to the aid of those who had used them so cruelly. 

At Carthage the plague advanced from house to house; terror 
reigned, kindness and compassion were unknown. The plague- 



stricken were thrown out into the streets to die, and the city was 
filled with groans and lamentations, and appeals for help which fell 
unheeded upon the ears of those whose fears rendered them mer¬ 
ciless and almost savage. 

In the midst of this terrible scene Cyprian appeared. He called 
around him his band of Christians—many of them bearing in their 
distorted limbs the tokens of their fellow-citizens' hate—he exhorted 
them to remember whose they were, and whose example they should 
follow, and who it was that had commanded them to “ do good to 
them that persecute you." They then divided the city into districts; 
each member of the Christian church of Carthage was assigned his 
work. The rich contributed money, others served as nurses; and 
the followers of Christ became indeed the salt of the city—light and 
life in the midst of darkness and death. 

But soon the hatred of the hardened enemies of Christ broke 
out afresh. They accused the Christians of being the cause of the 
plague, and persecution began again. Cyprian was therefore arrested, 
brought to trial, and sentenced to banishment. After nearly twelve 
months a new proconsul was appointed to Africa, and Cyprian re¬ 
turned from his exile. The persecution had not yet abated, and he 
soon received a summons to appear before the proconsul. The news 
spread like wildfire, and crowds of both Christians and heathen as¬ 
sembled in order to be present at his trial. 

The proconsul said. Art thou Cyprian, the bishop of so many 
impious and unruly men ? The most sacred emperor commands thee 
to sacrifice! 

Cyprian replied, I will not sacrifice! 

Take time to consider, before refusing to obey, said the proconsul; 
why should you throw away your life? 

Do not waste time in questioning me, but inflict whatever pun¬ 
ishment you may consider just, answered Cyprian; the case admits 
of no argument. 



The proconsul then pronounced sentence against him, that he 
must die by the sword. 

On hearing this the only words that fell from Cyprian’s lips 
were, “God be thanked!” He was conducted into a neighboring 
field which was thickly surrounded by trees. Into the branches 
of these the eager multitude climbed, to see the last scene of all. 
In the open part of the field Cyprian knelt down, covering his eyes 
with his hands, and as the sword descended the Christians pressed 
forward, eager to steep their handkerchiefs in his blood, to preserv^e 
them as precious tokens in remembrance of their beloved leader. 

So died Cyprian, a man transformed by the true spirit of Chris¬ 
tianity; the most eminent bishop of his time, a loving friend and 
faithful minister. 

The Strange Trial of Eugenia. 

Philippus, governor of Alexandria, had a daughter named Eugenia, 
who was very beautiful, and to whom he was tenderly attached. Now 
it happened that a Christian slave-girl in the household of the gov¬ 
ernor often talked to her young mistress about the joys of believing, 
and so Eugenia herself became a convert to the faith. 

Not daring to make her conversion known, on account of the 
punishments that she feared would follow, Eugenia fled from her 
father’s house and took refuge with Helenus, an aged bishop of the 
church. To aid in her concealment she called herself Eugenius, 
dressed in the robes usually worn by young men, and was ad¬ 
mitted into the monastery of a Christian society in Alexandria, with¬ 
out her sex or identity being suspected. 

After some years spent in this manner the head of the society 
died, and the supposed Eugenius, who had by this time grown to 
be much loved and respected, was chosen to fill his place. After 
becoming the head of the monastery she was often asked to cure 
the sick, and was supposed to work many miracles of healing. 



Among others who were cured by her was a woman of Alexandria, 
named Melancia, who, it seems, fell in love with her, supposing her 
to be a man. Eugenia refused to listen to, or even see, her too sus¬ 
ceptible patient, after she had learned of her infatuation for herself 
Angered by such treatment, Melancia's love turned to hate, and de¬ 
siring to be revenged against one who thus spurned her advances, 
she charged Eugenia, as well as the other inmates of the monastery, 
with the grossest crimes. 

The accused members of the society were brought before the 
governor, Philippus, Eugenia’s father, for trial. As the prisoners 
were Christians, they were believed to be guilty before any proof 
had been brought; for in the opinion of the ignorant mob Chris¬ 
tians were capable of any crime. 

Eugenia saw the danger, and knowing that she could save both 
herself and her companions by telling the governor that she was 
his daughter, asked him to allow her time and place to make mani¬ 
fest the truth. 

This being granted, she disclosed to him that she was his daughter 
Eugenia, and that her only companions were Protheus and Hiacinthus, 
two Christian men. By this confession the judge was convinced of 
her innocence, and her false accuser was utterly confounded. Philip¬ 
pus himself was afterward converted to Christianity, made bishop 
of Alexandria, and suffered martyrdom. 

Eugenia, after the death of her father, returned to Rome with 
Protheus and Hiacinthus, and having there converted Basilla (a lady 
who was to have been married to a heathen, but then refused), she 
was tortured in various ways and finally thrown into the river Tiber, 
fastened to a heavy stone, and thus drowned. 

Dreadful Fate of the Emperor Valerian. 

This tyrant, who had persecuted the Christians for more than 
three years, was taken prisoner by Sapor, king of Persia, who carried 




him into his own country, and there treated him with the utmost 
cruelty. Sapor made him kneel down before him as if he were 
his meanest slave, and used him as a footstool when he mounted 
his horse, saying in a tone of taunting contempt, This crouching 
form of' him who was once an emperor, shows which way the vic¬ 
tory went, better than all the pictures the Roman artists can draw.’' 

Having kept Valerian for the space of seven years in this pitiful 
state of slavery. Sapor then ordered his eyes to be put out. Vale¬ 
rian was now blind as well as a captive, but his cruel master's re¬ 
venge was far from being satisfied even then; for soon after he 
ordered the unfortunate emperor to be flayed alive, under which tor¬ 
ments he expired. 

Gallienus, the son of Valerian, succeeded him, and during his 
reign the empire suffered many commotions, particularly earth¬ 
quakes, pestilence, inundations, and attacks of barbarians. This 
emperor, reflecting that when his father favored the Christians he 
prospered, and that when he persecuted them he was unsuccessful, 
determined to stop the persecution. Therefore, except for a few 
outrages, the church enjoyed peace for some years. The chief of 
those who suffered was Marnius, a centurion, who was arrested as 
a Christian, and given but three hours in which to choose whether 
he would sacrifice to the heathen gods, or die. Wavering during this 
interval, a Christian companion placed the gospel and a sword before 
him, and asked which he would choose. Marnius took the sword 
without hesitation. On coming again before the governor, he made a 
noble confession of his faith, and was soon after beheaded. 

EMPERORS, A. D. 270. 

The emperor who next began a persecution against the Chris¬ 
tians was Aurelian. Among those who suffered during, this time 



was Felix, bishop of Rome, who was beheaded. Agapctus, a young 
Roman, who sold his estate and gave the money to the poor, was 
seized as a Christian, tortured, and then brought to Praeneste, a city 
within a day’s journey of Rome, where he was beheaded. These 
are the only martyrs whose names are recorded during this reign; 
as the persecution was soon stopped, owing to the emperor being 
murdered by his own soldiers, at Byzantium. 

Aurelian was succeeded by Tacitus, who was followed by Probus, 
and he by Cams: this emperor being killed by a thunder-storm, his 
sons, Carinus and Numerianus, succeeded him; and during all these 
reigns the church enjoyed rest. 

Rome under Diocletian. 

Diocletian became emperor in the year 284. He at first showed 
favor to the Christians, but when he appointed Maximian, a fellow- 
soldier, to rule jointly with him, a dreadful persecution was begun. 

Felician and Primus, two brothers, were seized by an order from 
the imperial court: owning themselves Christians, they were scourged, 
tortured, and finally beheaded. 

IMarcus and Marcellianus were twins, natives of Rome, and of 
noble descent. Their parents were heathens, but the tutors to 
whom the education of the children was entrusted, brought them 
up as Christians. Being arrested on account of their faith, they 
were tortured, and then sentenced to be beheaded. A delay of a 
month was obtained by their friends, during which their father, 
mother, and other near relatives, attempted to bring them back to 
heathenism, but in vain. At last their constancy converted even 
those who would have persuaded them, and their parents and whole 
family became converts to a faith they had just before condemned. 

When the month had passed, Tranquillinus, the father of the two 
young men, was sent for by the prefect, to give him an account of 
his endeavors. He then confessed, that so far from having persuaded 



his sons to forsake the faith, he had become a Christian himself. He 
then stood silent till the judge had recovered from his surprise. Re¬ 
suming his discourse, he used such powerful arguments that he 
made a convert of the magistrate also, who soon after sold his 
estate, resigned his command, and spent the remainder of his days 
in pious retirement. 

The judge who succeeded the above-mentioned convert had 
nothing of the disposition of his predecessor. He was a cruel and 
bloody-minded man, who seized every Christian he could lay his 
hands on. Some were martyred by being tied to posts, and having 
their hands and feet pierced with nails; after remaining in this 
dreadful condition for a day and night, their sufferings were ended 
by lances being thrust through their bodies. 

Zoe, the wife of the jailer who had charge of these martyrs, 
being greatly interested in their conversation, expressed a desire 
to become a Christian. As she was speechless with palsy, she could 
only express herself by signs. They gave her instructions in the 
faith, and told her to pray in her heart to God to cure her of 
her disease. She did so, and was at length relieved. Her paralytic 
disorder by degrees left her, and her speech returned again. This 
strengthened her faith, and she was confirmed as a Christian. Her 
husband, finding his wife had been made well, became a convert 
himself These conversions made a great talk, and the two were 
arrested and brought before the judge for trial. 

Zoe was commanded to sacrifice to Mars, and upon refusing, she 
was hanged upon a tree, and a fire of straw lighted under her. When 
her charred and lifeless body was taken down, it was thrown into a 
river, and sunk to the bottom by being tied to a great stone. 

Tibertius, a native of Rome, was of a family of rank and distinc¬ 
tion. It is related by one historian, that being accused as a Chris¬ 
tian, he was commanded either to sacrifice to idols, or to walk upon 
burning coals. He chose the latter, and passed over them without 



damage. Fabian then passed sentence upon him that he should be 
beheaded; this was done, and his body was afterward buried by 
some Christian friends. 

Massacre of a Whole Legion of Christian Soldiers. 

A legion of soldiers, consisting of about 6000 men, were all Chris¬ 
tians. It was called the Theban legion, and had been quartered in 
the East till the emperor Maximian ordered them to march to Gaul, 
to assist in fighting against the rebels of Aquitania. Passing the 
Alps under the command of their captain, they at length joined 
the emperor. Before engaging with the enemy Maximian ordered 
a general sacrifice, at which the whole army was to assist. He com¬ 
manded that the men should also take oaths of allegiance, and swear 
to assist him in driving Christianity out of Gaul. 

Deeply concerned at these orders, each man of the Theban legion 
resolutely refused either to sacrifice or take the oaths prescribed. 
This so greatly enraged Maximian that he ordered the legion to 
be decimated, that is, every tenth man to be selected from the rest, 
and put to the sword. This cruel order was at once carried out, 
but those who remained were still firm. A second decimation then 
took place, and every tenth man of those living was killed. 

But this second slaughter made no more impression than the 
first. By the advice of their officers the remnant of the legion 
drew up a remonstrance to the emperor, in which the men said, 
they were his subjects and his soldiers, but could not forget the 
Almighty. They received their pay from the emperor, but their 
lives were given them by God. 

They said: “Our arms are devoted to the emperor's use, and shall 
be directed against his enemies; but we cannot stain our hands with 
Christian blood; and how, indeed, could you, O emperor! be sure 
of our fidelity, should we violate our obligation to our God, in whose 
service we solemnly engaged before we entered the army? You 



command us to search out and to destroy the Christians; it is not 
necessary to look any farther than ourselves; we ourselves are Chris¬ 
tians, and we glory in the name. We saw our companions fall with¬ 
out the least complaint, and thought them happy in dying for the sake 
of Christ. But nothing shall make us lift up our hands against our sov¬ 
ereign ; we would rather die wrongfully, and by that means preserve 
our innocence, than live under a load of guilt. Whatever you com¬ 
mand, we are ready to suffer: we confess ourselves to be Christians, 
and therefore cannot persecute our brothers nor sacrifice to idols.'' 

Such a noble reply, it might be supposed, would have moved the 
emperor to mercy; but it had a contrary effect. Enraged at their 
continued refusal to obey, he commanded the whole legion to be 
put to death, which order was at once carried out by the other 
troops, who cut them to pieces with their swords. 

Indeed, it is related, such was the cruelty of Maximian, that he 
even sent to destroy every man of a few companies which had 

been drafted from the Theban legion and sent to Italy. 

A veteran soldier of another legion, whose name was Victor, met 
these murderers as they returned from their bloody work. As they 
seemed to be making merry over something, he inquired into the 

cause, and being told of the whole affair, he denounced them for 

their cruelty. This excited their curiosity to ask him if he was of 
the same faith as those who had suffered. On his admitting that 
he was, the soldiers at once attacked and killed him. 

St. Alban, the First British Martyr. 

Alban, commonly called St. Alban, was the first British martyr. 
He was brought up to believe in the ancient gods of heathen Rome; 
but being of a very kindly disposition, he sheltered a Christian, 
named Amphibalus, who was pursued on account of his religion. 
The conversation of his guest made a great impression on the mind 
of Alban; he longed to know more of a religion which had such 



power to touch his heart. The fugitive took advantage of the 
opportunity, and instructed Alban in the principles of the Christian 
faith, and soon completed his conversion. 

Alban now took a firm resolution to preserve the faith of a Chris¬ 
tian or to die the death of a martyr. The enemies of Amphibalus 
having at last found out the place where he was hidden, came to the 
house of Alban, to take him away. The noble host, desirous of pro¬ 
tecting his guest, changed clothes with him, in order that he might 
escape; and when the soldiers came, gave himself up as the person 
for whom they were seeking. 

Alban was taken before the governor, where the deceit was 
immediately discovered; and Amphibalus being gone, that officer 
determined to wreak his vengeance upon Alban. Pointing to an 
altar which stood before a statue, he commanded the prisoner to 
advance and sacrifice to Jupiter. The brave Alban refused, and 
cried out, I am a Christian! The governor then ordered him to 
be dragged to the foot of the statue, but failing to make him kneel 
before it he furiously commanded that he should be scourged. This 
punishment Alban bore with great courage, seeming to acquire new 
resolution from his sufferings. After scourging him, the governor 
commanded that his. head should be cut off with a sword. 

The historian, Bede, has narrated that, when Alban was led out 
to die, the executioner himself suddenly became converted to Chris¬ 
tianity, and begged permission either to die for Alban or with him. 
Being granted the latter request, they were both beheaded with 
the same sword. 

This martyrdom took place in England, then a Roman province, 
at the town of Verulam, now St. Albans, in Hertfordshire. A mag¬ 
nificent church was afterward erected there to St. Alban’s memory, 
during the time of Constantine the Great. This church was de¬ 
stroyed in the Saxon wars, but was rebuilt by Offa, king of Mer¬ 
cia. Some of its ruins still remain. 




Martyrdom of St. Faith, and Others. 

Faith, a Christian woman of Aquitania, in Gaul, being told that 
an order had gone forth to seize her, surrendered herself a prisoner. 
Being firm in her faith, she was beheaded, and her body afterward 

Capercius, a Christian, concealed himself from the persecutors, but 
being told of the courage of Faith he openly avowed his religion, 
and delivered himself up to the governor, who had him first tor¬ 
tured and then beheaded. 

Quintin, a Christian and a native of Rome, determined to preach 
the gospel in Gaul. He accordingly went to that province, attended 
by one Lucian, and they preached there together; after which Lucian 
went to Avaricum, where he suffered martyrdom. Quintin, however, 
escaped for a time, and was very active in the ministry. His continual 
prayers to the Almighty were to increase his faith, and strengthen his 
faculties to spread the gospel. 

After a time he was seized upon as a Christian, and was stretched 
with pulleys till his joints were dislocated, and his body was torn 
with scourges. After he had been thus tortured, he was taken back 
to prison. Varus, the governor, being obliged to go on a journey, 
ordered Quintin to be carried before him by his guard, and he soon 
died of the wounds he had received. 

Donatilla, Maxima, and Others. 

•Donatilla, Maxima, and Secunda, three virgins of Tuburga, were 
scourged, tormented on a gallows, and at last beheaded. 

Pontius, a native of the city of Simela, near the Alps, being seized 
as a Christian, was worried by wild beasts, then beheaded, and his 
body thrown into the river. 


EMPERORS, A. D. 303. 

In spite of all the efforts made to destroy them by their heathen 
foes, the Christians increased greatly in numbers and in wealth. As 
they became stronger they threw off much of that humility and care 
to avoid notice which had distinguished them in the earlier ages. 
They began to build churches and to assemble in them for wor¬ 
ship. This excited the envy of the heathen, and the emperor, Dio¬ 
cletian, was persuaded to begin a persecution against them. 

Nicomedia, a city of Asia Minor, was the place where the Chris¬ 
tians were first attacked. The prefect, or governor of the city, marched 
with a number of soldiers to the Christian church, and forced open 
the doors. They then destroyed all the books and sacred vessels 
they found there, and afterward levelled the building to the ground. 
The emperor then issued an edict, commanding the destruction of 
all the other Christian churches and their contents. Another law 
followed, making Christians incapable of holding any place of trust, 
profit, or dignity, or of receiving any protection from the courts of 
the empire. One martyrdom was the immediate result of the pub¬ 
lication of this edict; for a bold Christian not only tore it down from 
the place where it was put up, but reviled the name of the emperor 
for his injustice and cruelty. He was in consequence seized, severely 
tortured, and then burned alive. The Christian ministers were like¬ 
wise taken and imprisoned, and it was even claimed that the emperor 
privately ordered the imperial palace to be set on fire, so that the 
Christians might be charged with the crime, and a pretext given 
for carrying on the persecution with greater severity. 




A General Sacrifice to Idols Commanded. 

A general sacrifice was then commanded, which caused many mar¬ 
tyrdoms. Among others, a Christian named Peter was tortured and 
then burned. Several deacons and presbyters were dragged from 
their homes, and killed in various ways. The bishop of Nicomedia, 
named Anthimus, was beheaded. 

Such was the cruelty of their enemies, that no mercy was shown 
to age or sex, but women and children alike were slain. Many 
houses were set on fire, and whole Christian families perished in the 
flames. Others had stones fastened about their necks, and were 
driven into the sea. The persecution became general in all the 
Roman provinces; and as it lasted ten years, it is impossible to 
know how many were martyred, or to tell how they died. 

Some were beheaded in Arabia; others devoured by wild beasts 
in Phoenicia; numbers were burned in Syria; many had their bones 
broken, and in that manner were left to expire, in Cappadocia. In 
Mesopotamia, Christians were hung with their heads downward over 
a slow fire, and so burned. In Pontus, a variety of tortures were 
used. In Egypt, some were buried alive in the earth, others 
were drowned in the Nile, many were hung in the air till they per¬ 
ished, and numbers were thrown into large fires. Scourges, racks, 
daggers, swords, poison, crosses, and starvation, were made use of 
in various countries to destroy the Christians; and invention was 
exhausted in devising tortures for them. 

A town of Phiy^gia, inhabited entirely by Christians, was sur¬ 
rounded by a number of soldiers, in order to prevent any from get¬ 
ting away; the town was then set on fire, and the people perished in 
the flames or were killed while trying to escape. 

Protesting Against the Slaughter. 

At last several governors of the provinces represented to the im¬ 
perial court that it was unwise to pollute the cities with the blood of 



the inhabitants, or to defame the government of the emperors with 
the deaths of so many Roman subjects. 

After this many who were held in prisons were saved from exe¬ 
cution ; but though not put to death, they were subjected to every 
kind of indignity. Many had their ears cut off, their noses slit, 
their right eyes put out, their limbs dislocated, and their flesh seared 
in conspicuous places with hot irons. 

St. Sebastian Shot with Arrows. 

Among those who lost their lives during this bloody persecution 
was Sebastian, a holy man who was born at Narbonne in Gaul, in¬ 
structed in Christianity at Milan, and made an officer of the em¬ 
peror’s guard at Rome. 

Sebastian remained a true Christian in the midst of idolatry, un¬ 
affected by the splendors of a court, and untainted by evil example. 
Esteemed by the most eminent, beloved by his equals, and admired 
by his inferiors, he lived happily, and kept his faith and his place, 
until the rigors of the persecution deprived him of life. He was 
informed against, and betrayed to Fabian, the Roman general, by 
Torquatus, a pretended Christian. Sebastian was of too high rank 
to be put to death without the emperor’s express command, so 
an appeal was made to Diocletian. 

The emperor, on hearing the accusation, sent for Sebastian, and 
charged him with ungratefully betraying the confidence he had placed 
in him, by being, at heart, an enemy to the gods of the empire and 
to himself 

To this charge Sebastian answered, that his religion was of a good, 
not an evil tendency, that it did not influence him to do anything 
against the welfare of the empire; and that the greatest proof he 
could give of his good will, was by praying to the only true God 
for the health and prosperity of the emperor. 

Angered at this reply, the emperor ordered him to be taken to a 


field near the city, called the Campus Martius, there to be shot with 
arrows; and this cruel sentence was immediately carried out. 

But a few Christian friends, who came to the place of execution^ 
to bury Sebastian’s body, perceived signs of life in him, and moving 
him to a place of safety, he in a short time recovered. 

This, however, only prepared him for a second martyrdom; for 
as soon as he was able to walk, he placed himself in the emperor’s 
way as he was going to the temple. The unexpected appearance 
of a man supposed to be dead, naturally startled the emperor, nor 
did his words less astonish him; for Sebastian sternly reproved 
the tyrant for his various cruelties, and for his unreasonable hatred 
of Christianity. 

As soon as Diocletian had recovered from his surprise, he ordered 
Sebastian to be seized, carried to a place near the palace, and beaten 
to death; and in order that the Christians should not again help 
him back to life, or even buiy his dead body, he ordered that it 
should be thrown into a deep ditch. Nevertheless, a Christian lady, 
named Lucina, found a way to remove his remains, and bury them 
in the catacombs. 

Christians Refuse to Bear Arms. 

Many of the Christians thought it wrong to bear arms under a 
heathen emperor; because they were obliged, with the rest of the 
army, to be present at idolatrous sacrifices before the idols, and 
were compelled to follow the imperial standards, which were dedi¬ 
cated to the heathen deities. Such reasons caused many to refuse 
to enter the imperial army, when called upon to do so; for the 
Roman law obliged all young men, above a certain stature, to 
make several campaigns. 

Maximilian, the son of Fabius Victor, being pointed out as a 
proper person to bear arms, was ordered by Dion, the proconsul, 
to be measured, that he might be enlisted in the service. Maximilian, 



however, boldly declared himself a Christian, and refused to do mili¬ 
tary duty. Being found of the required height, Dion gave direc¬ 
tions that he should be marked as a soldier, according to the usual 

Maximilian, however, boldly opposed this order, and told Dion, 
that he would not engage in the service. The proconsul instantly 
replied, that he should either serve as a soldier, or die for disobe¬ 
dience. Do as you please with me, replied Maximilian; behead me, 
if you will; I am already a soldier of Christ, and cannot serve any 
other power. 

Dion, wishing to save the young man’s life, advised his father to 
use his authority over him, in order to make him obey; but the father 
replied, ‘‘ My son knoweth that which is right for him to do.” Dion 
then demanded of Maximilian, if he was yet disposed to receive the 
mark. To this the young man replied, he had already received 
the mark of Christ. Have you ? exclaimed the proconsul furiously, 
then I shall quickly send you to your master; and calling a guard 
he ordered them to take Maximilian and cut off his head. 

At the place of execution, the young martyr exhorted those who 
were Christians to remain so; and such as were not, to embrace a 
faith which led to eternal salvation. Then addressing his father with 
a cheerful countenance, he asked that the armor intended for him¬ 
self might be given to the executioner: and, after taking leave of 
him, said he hoped they should meet again in the other world, 
and be happy to all eternity. Then with patience he received the 
stroke which ended his life. 

A Father Sacrifices His Own Son. 

Vitus, a young Sicilian of good family, became a Christian through 
the teaching of a nurse who took care of him when a child. The 
young man’s father, whose name was Hylas, used every effort to 
make his son return to the worship of the heathen gods. Failing 



in this, the father seemed to lose all the natural affection of a parent, 
and informed against his son to Valerian, governor of Sicily, who 
was very active in persecuting the Christians at this time. 

Valerian sentenced the young man to be scourged, and after this 
had been done with great severity, sent him back to his father, think¬ 
ing that what he had suffered would make him change his faith. But 
in this he was mistaken; and Hylas, finding his son still holding the 
same opinions, sacrificed the human instincts of a father to his heathen 
superstitions, and prepared to send his son back to the governor. On 
being warned of this, Vitus escaped to Lucania, where he was seized, 
by order of Valerian, and put to death. His nurse, Crescentia, through 
whose teaching it was that he had become a Christian, and Modestus, 
a man who escaped with him, were martyred at the same time. 

Victor, a Christian of Massilia. 

Victor, a young man of Massilia, a city of southern Gaul, was a 
devout Christian. Much of his time was spent in the work of the 
church, and in assisting its poorer members. He was at last charged 
with offending against the superstitions of the pagan priests, seized 
by the emperor’s order, and brought before the judge for trial. 

The magistrate examined the prisoner, and after he had finished 
questioning him, advised him strongly to return to the worship of 
the heathen gods, and not to lose all the advantages he might enjoy 
by gaining the emperor’s favor. Victor replied that he was a servant 
of Christ, and that no position offered to him by an earthly prince 
should interfere with his duty to the King of Heaven. 

For this bold reply, Victor was sent to the emperor to receive his 
final sentence. When the young man was brought before him, Max- 
imian commanded him, under the severest penalties, to sacrifice to 
the Roman idols. On his refusal, he was ordered to be bound 
and dragged through the streets. During the execution of this 
sentence, he was treated by the brutal mob with great cruelty. 



Remaining firm in his belief in spite of the violence of the crowd, 
the young man was next ordered to be put upon the rack. 

Victor heard his dreadful doom with a shudder, but turning 
his eyes toward heaven, prayed to God to give him courage; after 
which he bore the tortures with wonderful patience. When the 
executioners became tired he was taken from the rack and car¬ 
ried to a dungeon. During his confinement, he converted the 
jailers, named Alexander, Felician, and Longinus; this coming to 
the knowledge of the emperor, he ordered them immediately to be 
put to death, and they were beheaded accordingly. 

Victor was afterward again put to the rack, beaten with clubs, 
and then sent back to his dungeon. Being a third time examined 
concerning his religion, he made the same answers. A small altar 
was then brought, and he was commanded to offer incense upon it; 
but instead of doing this he boldly stepped forward, and with his foot 
overset both altar and idol. 

The emperor Maximian, who was present, was so enraged at this, 
that he ordered the foot with which he had kicked the altar, to be im¬ 
mediately cut off; and Victor himself to be thrown into a mill, and 
crushed to pieces with the stones. This horrid sentence was put 
into execution; but part of the mill breaking, he was drawn from 
it, terribly bruised but still alive. The emperor not having patience 
to stay till it was mended, ordered the martyr’s head to be struck 
off, which was accordingly done. 

Wonderful Courage of Three Christian Friends. 

While Maximus, governor of Cilicia, was at the city of Tarsus, 
three Christians were brought before him by Demetrius, a military 

Tarachus, the eldest of the prisoners, and the highest in rank, 
was addressed by Maximus, who asked him what he was ? The 
prisoner replied, A Christian. This reply offending the governor, 


I I I 

he again asked the same question, and was answered in a similar 
manner. The governor then began to argue the case, and told 
Tarachus that he ought to sacrifice to the gods, as that was the 
only way to get riches and honors; and that even the emperors 
themselves did so. 

Tarachus replied, that avarice was a sin, and gold itself an idol 
as hurtful as any other; for it brought about frauds, treacheries, 
robberies, and murders; it induced men to deceive each other, by 
which in time they deceived themselves, and bribed the weak to 
their own eternal destruction. As for promotion, he said he wanted 
it not, as he could not in conscience accept of any place which 
would require him to pay adoration to idols. And as to honors, 
he desired none greater than the noble name of Christian. As to 
the emperors themselves being pagans, he added with the same 
undaunted and determined spirit, that they deceived themselves in 
adoring senseless idols, and were evidently being led to destruction 
by the devil himself 

For the boldness of this speech, Tarachus was struck violently 
with a staff, breaking his jaw. He was then stripped, scourged, 
loaded with chains, and thrown into a dismal dungeon, to remain 
there till after the trials of the other two prisoners. 

Probus was next brought before Maximus, who asked him his 
name. Bravely the prisoner replied, that the best name he could 
boast of was that of a Christian. To this Maximus replied. Your 
name of Christian will be of little service to you unless you sacri¬ 
fice to the gods, and seek the favor of the emperor. 

Probus answered, that as he had already given up a considerable 
fortune to become a soldier of Christ, it might be evident that he 
cared little for the favor of the emperor. He was then scourged; 
and Demetrius, the officer, telling him how his blood flowed, ad¬ 
vised him to comply; but his only answer was a shake of the 
head. “ What!” cried Maximus, “ does he still persist in his mad- 



ness? Turn his face toward us that we may see how he takes his 
punishment !” The body of the unfortunate Probus was then 
turned about and he was scourged on the breast. He bore this 
with as much courage as he had shown while being beaten on the 
back; and only said, The more my body suffers and loses blood, 
the more my soul will grow vigorous and strong. He was then 
committed to jail, loaded with irons, and his hands and feet stretched 
upon the stocks. 

Andronicus was next brought up, and upon being asked the 
usual questions, said, I am a Christian, a native of Ephesus, and 
decended from one of the first families of that city. He was then 
sentenced to undergo punishments similar to those of Tarachus and 
Probus, and sent to prison. 

Having been confined some days, the three prisoners were again 
brought before Maximus, who began first to reason with Tarachus, 
saying, he supposed the punishments he had already suffered had 
caused him to change. Finding himself, however, mistaken, he or¬ 
dered Tarachus to be tortured by various means. Fire was placed in 
the palms of his hands; he was hung up by his feet and smoked 
with wet straw; and he was sent back again to his dungeon. 

Probus being then called, and asked if he would sacrifice, replied, 
I come better prepared than before; for what I have already suffered 
has only confirmed and strengthened me in my resolution. Employ 
your whole power upon me, and you will find, that neither you, nor 
the emperor, nor the idols you serve, shall oblige me to adore gods 
whom I know not.” 

The governor attempted to reason with him, and praised the hea¬ 
then gods, and urged him to sacrifice to Jupiter. Probus refused, and 
said, Why should I pay divine honors to Jupiter, an infamous cha¬ 
racter, as is even acknowledged by your own priests and poets ?” 
Enraged at this speech, the governor ordered Probus to be struck 
upon the mouth, for uttering what he called blasphemy; his body 



was then seared with hot irons, and after these terrible tortures, he 
was sent back to prison. 

When Andronicus was next brought before Maximus, the gov¬ 
ernor tried to deceive him by pretending that Tarachus and Probus 
had renounced their faith, and turned to the gods of the empire. 

To this the prisoner answered, “ Lay not, O governor, such a weak¬ 
ness to the charge of those^,who have appeared here before me in 
this cause, nor imagine it to be in your power to shake my fixed 
resolution with artful speeches. I cannot believe that they have dis¬ 
obeyed the laws of their God: nor will I ever fall behind them in 
faith and dependence upon our common Saviour. I neither know 
your gods, nor fear your authority; fulfil your threats, execute your 
most bloody inventions, and employ every cruel art in your power on 
me. I am prepared to bear it for the sake of Christ.’' 

For this answer Andronicus was cruelly scourged; but recovering 
from his wounds in a short time, the governor accused the jailer of 
having let some physician attend him. The jailer declared that no 
person whatever had been near him or the other prisoners, and that 
he would willingly lose his head if anything of the kind could be 
proved against him. Andronicus said the jailer spoke truly, and 
added, that the God whom he served was the most powerful of 

The three Christians were after a time brought to a third exami¬ 
nation. They were again tortured, and at last sentenced for execu¬ 
tion. Being brought to the circus or amphitheatre, several beasts 
were let loose upon them; but it is related that none of the animals 
would touch them. Maximus was so much disappointed and angered 
at this, that he severely reproved the keeper, and ordered him to 
produce a beast that would do the bloody work. 

The keeper then brought out a large bear, which had that day 
destroyed three men. But, wonderful to relate! this creature, and a 

fierce lioness also, refused to touch the Christians. Finding it im- 



possible to destroy them by means of wild beasts, Maximus ordered 
them to be slain by the sword. This was accordingly done; they all 
declaring, previous to their martyrdom, that as death was the com¬ 
mon lot of all men, they would rather meet it for the sake of Christ, 
than suffer it by mortal disease. 

Dreadful Martyrdom of Romanus. 

Romanus, a native of Palestine, was deacon of the church of 
Caesarea, at the time of the commencement of Diocletian’s persecu¬ 
tion. He was at Antioch when the imperial order came for sacri¬ 
ficing to idols, and was much grieved to see many Christians, through 
fear, submit to the idolatrous command, and deny their faith in or¬ 
der to preserve their lives. 

While reproving some of them for their weakness, Romanus was 
informed against, and soon after arrested. Being brought to the 
tribunal, he confessed himself a Christian, and said he was willing 
to suffer anything they could inflict upon him for his confession. 
When condemned, he was scourged, put to the rack, and his body 
torn with hooks. While thus cruelly mangled, he turned to the 
governor, and thanked him for having opened for him so many 
mouths with which to preach Christianity; for, said he, every wound 
is a mouth to sing the praises of the Lord. He was soon after slain 
by being strangled. 

A Roman Officer, a Spanish Lady, and Others. 

Sergius was an office? in the Roman army, and accompanied the 
emperor Maximian into Syria. Being accused as a Christian he was 
ordered to sacrifice to Jupiter. Refusing to do this, he was stripped 
of his armor, and in derision dressed in woman’s clothes. He then 
was forced to march a considerable distance with nails in his sandals. 
At last an end was put to his sufferings by his being beheaded. 

A Spanish lady, named Eulalia, of a Christian family, who was 



remarkable for sweetness of temper and excellence of understanding, 
was informed against, as a Christian, and carried before the judge for 

The magistrate at first attempted by mild means to win her over, 
but she answered his arguments so skilfully and spoke of the pagan 
gods with such contempt, that, enraged at her words, he ordered the 
court to be cleared, and the prisoner disposed of as her accusers might 
see fit. 

Eulalia was accordingly hurried to the door and handed over to 
some brutal soldiers who stood near. These took her, pierced her ten¬ 
der flesh with their spears, and afterward burned her body to ashes. 

The emperor Diocletian falling ill, the persecution was carried on 
by Galerius, and by the governors of the several provinces. 

The Story of St. Vincent. 

Vincent was a Spanish Christian, who had been educated by Vale¬ 
rius, bishop of Saragossa. On account of his great merits he was 
made a deacon. When the persecution reached Spain, Dacian, the 
governor of Tarragona, ordered Valerius the bishop, and Vincent 
the deacon, to be seized, loaded with irons, and imprisoned. 

Some time after, Dacian examined them and threatened them with 
death, unless they renounced their faith. Vincent, undertaking to 
speak for both, avowed their full determination to persist in the faith. 
Hereupon Dacian, in a rage at his boldness of speech, declared that 
unless he immediately consented to burn incense to the gods, he 
should himself fall a sacrifice. 

Both the prisoners resolutely refused to obey the governor. Vale¬ 
rius was banished, but the whole of Dacian’s rage was exhausted on 
Vincent; he was racked, had his limbs dislocated, and his flesh torn 
with hooks. 

These horrid torments neither putting an end to his life nor chang¬ 
ing his faith, he was sent back to prison, and confined in a dark dun- 



geon. Orders were also giv^en not to let him have any food whatever, 
and that the news of his death should be carried to Dacian as soon 
as it took place. When the keepers thought him staiwed, they en¬ 
tered the dungeon ; but, instead of finding a corpse as they expected, 
they beheld Vincent engaged in prayer, his wounds healed, and his 
body in a good state of health. 

This speedy recovery, and preservation, had such an effect upon the 
keepers that it became the means of their conversion. Dacian, how¬ 
ever, instead of being impressed by so wonderful a cure, was enraged 
at the triumph of Vincent over his persecutors, and gave orders for 
new tortures to be prepared for him, of so severe a nature as to make 
his death seem certain. But his malice was again disappointed ; for 
before the instruments could be prepared, God took Vincent to him¬ 
self, and he died with as much calmness as if he had only sunk 
into a gentle sleep. 

Dacian then ordered that Vincent’s body should be exposed in the 
fields to the vultures; but they would not touch it, so he commanded 
that it should be thrown into the river, which was accordingly done. 

The Torture of Saturninus. 

The persecution of Diocletian was carried into Africa, and many 
of the Christians were put to cruel tortures and painful deaths. The 
most eminent of these was Saturninus, a citizen of Abyla, a town on 
the sea coast. Being informed against, Saturninus, with four of his 
children, and several other persons, were arrested, and to make their 
punishment the more public, they were sent to Carthage, where they 
were examined by Anulinus, the proconsul. 

Saturninus, at his examination, gave spirited answers, and upheld 
the Christian religion with great eloquence. Anulinus, enraged at 
his boldness, ordered him to be silenced by being put to a variety 
of tortures, such as scourging, and burning with hot irons. Having 
been thus dreadfully treated, he was sent back to prison, and there 


starved to death. His four young children were also cruelly tor¬ 
mented, but they all remained firm in their faith. They were then 
sent back to the dungeon in which their father was confined, and 
starved to death there with him. 

There were eight other Christians tortured on the same day as 
Saturninus, and in much the same manner. Two expired on the 
spot, through the severity of their sufferings; and the other six being 
sent back to prison, were suffocated by the heat and stifling air of 
their dungeon. Thelico, a pious Christian; Dativus, a noble Roman 
senator; Victoria, a young lady of good family and fortune; with 
some others of lower station, who had been hearers of Saturninus, 
were seized at the same time, tortured in a similar manner, and at 
last starved to death. 

Martyrdom of Three Sisters. 

Three sisters, Chionia, Agape, and Irene, were imprisoned at 
Thessalonica. They had been educated in the Christian faith, but 
had taken great care to remain undiscovered, and had retired to a 
lonely place. When at last found out and seized, they seemed to 
lose their timidity, blamed themselves for being so fearful, and prayed 
to God to strengthen them for the great trial they had to undergo. 

When Agape was examined before Dulcatius, the governor, she 
was asked whether or not she was disposed to obey the laws ? 
She answered that she was a Christian, and could not comply with 
any laws which required the worship of idols; that her resolution 
was fixed, and nothing should deter her from continuing in it. 
Her sister Chionia replied in the same manner. Then the gov¬ 
ernor, not being able to make them swerve from their faith, pro¬ 
nounced sentence of condemnation against them, and the two were 
taken out and burned to death. 

Irene, the youngest of the three sisters, was a beautiful girl, only 
about eighteen years of age. She had been forced to witness the fate 





of her two sisters in the hope of arousing her fears and breaking her 
spirit. But when she had been taken away from the dreadful scene 
and brought before the governor, she replied to his questions as fear¬ 
lessly as her sisters had done. In vain Dulcatius urged the girl to 
return to the worship of the heathen gods, and to take part in the 
feasts held in their honor. She refused utterly to have anything to 
do with them, and boldly declared that she would rather follow her 
sisters to the fire than abandon the true faith. 

When the governor found that he could not influence the girl, 
he ordered her to be exposed in the streets, to the insults of the 
soldiery. This shameful order having been carried out, wood was 
brought, and a fire kindled near the city wall, amidst the flames of 
which the young martyr’s heroic spirit ascended beyond the reach 
of man’s cruelty. 

Martyrdom of Theodotus and Others. 

Theotecnus, the governor of Dalmatia, on the eastern shore of 
the Adriatic Sea, received with great pleasure the order to begin 
persecuting the Christians. He at once wrote the emperor that he 
would do his utmost to root out Christianity from every place under 
his rule. Urged on by the governor, the people began to inform 
against, abuse, and persecute the Christians. Great numbers were 
seized and imprisoned; their goods were destroyed, and their houses 
taken away from them. 

Many of the poor people fled into the woods, or lived in caves, 
where some supported themselves by feeding upon roots, and others 
perished by famine. Some were also starved in the city, by means 
of the following singular stratagem. The governor gave strict 
orders, that no provisions whatever should be exposed for sale in 
the markets without having first been consecrated to the idols. The 
Christians were therefore compelled to eat what had been offered to 
the gods, or to go without food and starve. The latter dreadful 



fate was actually suffered by some, who in order to preserve their faith 
were willing to give up their lives. 

In these dreadful times, Theodotus, a Christian innkeeper, did all 
he could to comfort the afflicted. He buried the bodies of several 
who had been martyred, though this was forbidden on pain of death. 
He likewise privately furnished many with food; and having laid in 
a great stock of grain, he sold it at its mere cost. 

But not all who called themselves Christians could brave the ter¬ 
rors of a cruel death. One named Polychronichus, upon being seized 
not only renounced his faith in order to preserve his life, but informed 
against his friend Theodotus, who hearing of his treachery, surren¬ 
dered himself to the governor of his own accord. 

On his arrival in the court, Theodotus looked at the instruments 
of torture with a smile, and seemed not to care for their effects. 
When placed on trial, the governor informed him that it was still 
in his power to save his life, by sacrificing to the gods of the empire; 
and more than that, said he, if you will give up your faith in Christ, 
I promise you that through my friendship and the emperor’s pro¬ 
tection, you may become one of the chief men of the city. 

Theodotus displayed great courage and eloquence in his answer 
to this appeal. He absolutely refused to renounce his faith, declined 
the friendship of the governor, or protection of the emperor, and 
treated the idols with the greatest contempt. At this the bystanders 
cried out against the prisoner, and demanded that he be immediately 
punished. The heathen priests in particular rent their clothes, and 
threw down the badges of their office, through rage. The gov¬ 
ernor therefore consented to their demands, and directed the execu¬ 
tioners to take the prisoner and torture him to the last extremity. 

Theodotus was then scourged, and next placed upon the rack. 
After this, his flesh was seared with burning torches, and he was 
then sent back to prison. As he went, pointing to his mangled body, 
he said to the people, “ It is but just that a Christian should suffer for 



Him who suffered for us all.” Five days after he was brought from 
prison, tortured again, and then beheaded. 

Seven Aged Women are Drowned. 

Seven aged women of Ancyra were about this time arrested for 
their faith. They were examined before the governor, who reviled 
their belief, ridiculed their age, and ordered them to assist in the 
idolatrous rites of washing the goddesses Minerva and Diana: for 
in Ancyra it was the custom eveiy year to cleanse the images of 
those goddesses. This was considered an important ceremony. 

Accordingly, they were forced to the temple; but absolutely re¬ 
fusing to wash the idols, the governor was so enraged, that he or¬ 
dered them to have stones tied about their necks, and to be pushed 
into the water intended for the washing. This was immediately done, 
and the seven aged women were all drowned. 

Wonderful Courage of Philip, Bishop of Heraclea. 

Philip, bishop of Heraclea, in Asia Minor, had in almost every act 
of his life shown himself to be a good Christian. 

An officer, named Aristomachus, being sent to shut up the 
Christian church in Heraclea, Philip told him that the shutting up 
of buildings made by hands could not destroy Christianity; for the 
true faith dwelt not in the places where God is adored, but in the 
hearts of his people. 

Being denied entrance to the church in which he used to preach, 
Philip took up his station at the door, and there exhorted the peo¬ 
ple to patience, perseverance and godliness. For this he was seized 
and carried before the governor, who severely reproved him, and then 
said: Bring all the vessels used in your worship, and the Scriptures 
which you read and teach the people, and surrender them to me, 
before you are forced to do so by tortures. Philip listened unmoved 
to this harsh command, and then replied. If you take any pleasure in 



seeing us suffer, \vc are prepared for the worst you can do. This 
infirm body is in your power; use it as you please. The vessels you 
demand shall be delivered up, for God is not honored by gold and 
silver, but by faith -in his name. As to the sacred books, it is neither 
proper for me to part with them, nor for you to receive them. This 
answer so much enraged the governor, that he ordered the venerable 
bishop to be put to the torture. 

The crowd then ran to the place where the Scriptures and the 
church plate were kept. They broke down the doors, stole the 
plate, and burned the books; after this they wrecked the church. 

When Philip was taken to the market-place, he was ordered to 
sacrifice to the Roman gods. In answer to this command, he made 
a spirited address on the real nature of the Deity; and said it ap¬ 
peared that the heathens worshipped that which might lawfully be 
trodden under foot, and made gods of such things as Providence had 
designed for their common use. 

Philip was then dragged by the mob through the streets, severely 
scourged, and brought again to the governor; who charged him with 
obstinate rashness, in continuing disobedient to the emperor’s com¬ 
mand. To this he boldly replied, that he thought it wise to prefer 
heaven to earth, and to obey God rather than man. The governor 
then sentenced him to be burned, which was done accordingly, and 
he expired singing praises to God in the midst of the fire. 

Agricola, and Other Martyrs in Italy. 

Agricola was a Christian of so amiable a disposition, that he even 
gained the good will of the heathen among whom he lived. But he 
was at last seized, and sentenced to die the terrible death by cruci¬ 
fixion. This martyr was so much beloved by his friends that they 
took his body, together with the cross upon which he perished 
and buried both, with reverent care, in one grave. 

Vitalis, the servant and convert of Agricola, was seized upon the 



same account as his master, and being put to the torture, died under 
the hands of his executioners. 

Timothy, of Mauritania. 

Timothy, a deacon of Mauritania, in northern Africa, and Maura 
his wife, had been married but three weeks, when they were separated 
from each other by the persecution. Timothy was carried before Arri- 
anus the governor, who did all in his power to induce him to worship 
the heathen gods. But his efforts being vain, and knowing that Timo¬ 
thy had the keeping of the sacred writings used in Christian worship, 
the governor commanded him to deliver them up, that they might be 
burned. Timothy answered, Had I children, I would rather deliver 
them up to be burned, than the word of God.’' 

The governor, much enraged at this reply, ordered the prisoner’s 
eyes to be put out, saying to him. The books shall at least be 
useless to you, for now you cannot see to read them. Timothy 
endured this punishment with such patience that the governor grew 
more furious, and ordered him to be hung up by the feet, with a 
weight tied about his neck, and a gag in his mouth. 

This barbarous treatment Timothy bore with the greatest courage. 
Then some person told the governor that he had been but newly mar¬ 
ried to a wife of whom he was very fond. Arrianus accordingly had 
Maura sent for, and promised her a handsome reward, with the life of 
her husband, if she would prevail upon him to sacrifice to the idols. 
Maura, wavering in her faith, tempted by the bribe, and impelled by 
an unbounded affection for her husband, undertook to persuade him; 
and when taken to him, she assailed his constancy with all the mov¬ 
ing eloquence of affection. 

As soon as the gag was taken out of Timothy’s mouth, in order 
to give him an opportunity to speak, instead of consenting to his 
wife’s entreaties, as they expected, he blamed her mistaken love, and 
declared his resolution of dying for the faith. Maura continued to 



beseech him, till, at last, her husband reproached her so bitterly for 
her weakness that she retained to his way of thinking, and resolved 
to imitate his courage. 

Timothy advised her to repair her fault by declaring that resolu¬ 
tion to the governor. Being strengthened by his words, and the 
grace of God, she went to Arrianus, and told him, that she was 
united to her husband in faith as well as love, and was ready to 
suffer for her wicked conduct, in trying to make him an apostate. 
The governor immediately ordered her to be tortured, which was 
done with great severity. After this Timothy and Maura were cruci¬ 
fied side by side. 

The Emperors Constantius and Galerius. 

In the year 305, Diocletian and Maximian gave up their imperial 
crowns and were succeeded by Constantius and Galerius. The former 
was a man of the most mild and humane disposition; the latter re¬ 
markable for his tyranny and cruelty. 

The empire was now divided into two equal governments; Galerius 
ruling in the East, and Constantius in the West, which included Spain, 
Gaul, and Britain. The people in the two parts felt the effects of the 
different dispositions of the emperors; for those in the West were 
governed in the mildest manner, while those in the East felt all 
the miseries of cruelty and oppression. 

Dreadful Persecutions by Galerius. 

As Galerius hated the Christians, we are told by ancient writers, 
that “ he not only condemned them to the ordinary tortures, but 
to be burned in slow fires.” 

A Christian named Amphianus, who lived at Lycia, saw a proclama¬ 
tion being read. Approaching nearer, he heard that all persons were 
commanded to sacrifice to the heathen idols. Pressing through the 
crowd, he caught the governor, Urbianus, by the hand, and reproached 



him for his superstition. Incensed at this, the governor ordered him 
to be put to the torture, and then thrown into the sea. 

Julitta, a lady of rank, was a Christian, and when the edict for 
sacrificing to idols was published at Iconium, she fled from that 
city, taking her young son, Cyricus, and two female servants with her. 
She was, however, seized at the city of Tarsus, and being carried be¬ 
fore Alexander, the governor, acknowledged that she was a Chris¬ 
tian. For this bold confession of her faith, her little son was taken 
from her arms and she was put to the rack, and tortured with great 
severity, which she bore with quiet resignation. The child cried 
bitterly to get to his mother, and the governor, observing his beauty, 
was moved by the tears of the infant, so he took him up, and en¬ 
deavored to pacify him. Nothing, however, would quiet the child; 
he still called upon his mother, and at length, in imitation of her 
confession, lisped out, “ I am a Christian.” The governor s compas¬ 
sion turned into rage upon hearing these hated words, and throwing 
the child furiously against the pavement, he dashed out his brains. 
The mother, from the rack, beheld the dreadful deed and was soon 
afterward slain by having her head cut off with a sword. 

Death of Pantaleon, the Physician. 

Pantaleon, a young man who lived at the city of Nicomedia, was 
instructed by his father in the learning of the pagans, but was taught 
from the Scriptures by his mother, who was a Christian. Taking up 
the study of medicine, he became eminent in that profession, and was 
appointed physician to the emperor Galerius. Pantaleon, in Greek, 
signifies Immane^ and the name well suited his nature, for he was one 
of the most benevolent men of his time. But his extraordinary 
reputation for skill in the cure of diseases, roused the jealousy of 
his fellow physicians, who accused him to the emperor. Galerius, on 
finding him a Christian, ordered him to be tortured and then be¬ 
headed, which sentence was carried out. 



Two officers in the Roman army, Nicander and Marcian, were 
seized as Christians. They v^ere both warriors of great skill and cour¬ 
age, and the utmost endeavors were made to induce them to renounce 
Christianity; but this being without effect, they were sentenced to be 
beheaded. The execution was attended by vast crowds of people, 
among whom were the wives of -the two sufferers. The wife of 
Nicander was a Christian, and encouraged her husband to meet 
his death bravely; but the wife of Marcian, being a heathen, entreated 
her husband to save himself, for the sake of his wife and child. Mar¬ 
cian, while reproving her for this advice, tenderly embraced her and 
the infant. Nicander likewise took leave of his wife in the most 
loving manner, and then both, with great resolution, received the 
crown of martyrdom. Besides these there were many others slain 
at this time, whose names are not recorded. 

A Roman Governor’s Mistake. 

Five Egyptian Christians who had come to Caesarea, were arrested 
and taken before Firmilian, the governor of Palestine. On question¬ 
ing them, he was answered by one who spoke for all, and said they 
were Christians, and belonged to the glorious city of Jerusalem, 
meaning the heavenly Jerusalem. The governor was surprised 
at this answer, for he knew that Vespasian and his son Titus had 
destroyed the ancient Jerusalem, and nothing but an unimportant 
town existed on its site. He therefore inquired more particularly 
about it. 

The Christian who had spoken before, again replied, pursuing the 
allegory, and describing with great force of imagination, the beauty, 
riches, and glory of the place. Firmilian still mistaking his meaning, 
became much alarmed. Not knowing that a heavenly city was alluded 
to, he thought the Christians was strengthening and fortifying some 
place, in order to revolt from their allegiance to the emperor. Acting 
upon this supposition, and enraged at their supposed disloyalty, he 



condemned the five prisoners to be cruelly tormented, and then be¬ 

St. George. 

George, commonly called St. George, and adopted by England as 
her patron saint, was born in Cappadocia. His parents were Chris¬ 
tians, of high station, and their son received careful religious training. 
His father dying, his mother went to live in Palestine, her native 
country, where she had inherited a considerable estate. 

George, being of an active and adventurous disposition, enlisted as 
a soldier in the Roman army and soon became known as a brave and 
skilful warrior. Having gained the favor of the emperor, Diocletian, 
by some act of gallantry, George was made an officer, and being fre¬ 
quently promoted attained high military rank. But when Diocletian 
began to persecute the Christians, George cast aside all his hopes 
of fame and fortune, and at once boldly presented himself before 
the astonished emperor. He declared himself a Christian, refused 
to carry out the imperial command, and called Heaven to witness 
that he would take no part in the slaughter of his brethren. Sur¬ 
prised and indignant at being thus defied by one whom he had 
greatly favored, Diocletian instantly ordered his arrest. 

George was soon after brought to trial and given a last oppor¬ 
tunity to yield to the emperor’s wishes. Instead of doing so, how¬ 
ever, he repeated his refusal to serve in the army if it was to be 
used as a means of persecuting men of his own faith. 

This bold avowal caused George to be instantly condemned to 
torture and death; he was scourged, cruelly mangled, and at last 
beheaded. The legend of the dragon, which is associated with this 
martyr, is usually illustrated by representing St. George seated upon 
a charging horse and transfixing the monster with his spear. This 
fiery dragon symbolizes the devil, who was vanquished by St. George’s 
steadfast faith in Christ, which remained unshaken in spite of tor¬ 
ture and death. 



A. D. 306. 

Constantine L, called “ the Great,” was the first Roman emperor 
to become a convert to the Christian faith. He was the eldest son 
of the emperor Constantins, and from his boyhood had been accus¬ 
tomed to the life of camps, as he accompanied his father on many 
campaigns. Constantine was thus trained early to arms, and during 
his after life, throughout the greater part of his reign, he was en¬ 
gaged in warfare with the enemies of Rome, and led her victorious 
standard to remote parts of the world. Constantine defeated the 
barbarians of the north in many bloody battles, and built a line 
of forts on the Rhine, to hold them in check. 

Constantine was first made emperor of those countries only which 
lay beyond the Alps, and began his reign at the death of his father. 
Some years after he had become master of this part of the empire, 
Maxentius, who ruled over the southern part, including Italy and 
the city of Rome itself, became jealous of Constantine’s growing 
power and made ready to lead an army against him. Constantine, 
hearing of these preparations, immediately set out for Rome at the 
head of his trained veterans, and defeated Maxentius, who was 
drowned in the Tiber while trying to escape into the capital. His 
rival having perished, Constantine became master of Italy, and he 
soon after led his army against Licinius, a general who had made 
himself ruler over the eastern provinces. This war ended in the 

defeat of Licinius also, and Constantine thus became sole emperor 
9 129 


of the whole Roman world. He afterward removed the capital 
from Rome to Byzantium, and dedicated the city, with splendid 
ceremony, to the Virgin Mary. Christian priests led the procession 
around the walls, and an imperial edict proclaimed that no pagan 
temple should be built in New Rome. In after years, the city was 
called Constantinople in honor of the first Christian emperor. This 
name it has always since retained, and for a thousand years after 
the death of Constantine it remained the capital of the Roman 
empire, until taken by the Turks. 

It was early in the reign of Constantine, while his throne was 
in danger from Maxentius, that the celebrated event took place 
which led to his conversion, and which is known in history as “ The 
Vision of Constantine.” The following is the story as it is told by 
the ancient historian, Eusebius, who also stated that he would have 
thought it impossible had he not heard it from the emperor s own 
lips, and been present when he publicly acknowledged it to be true. 

The Vision of Constantine. 

The army of Constantine was advancing upon Rome. It was 
the 27th of October, in the year 312, about three o’clock in the 
afternoon, when the sun was beginning to lower in the heavens. 
The emperor was leading his veteran soldiers to a battle against 
Maxentius, which would either bring him death or establish him 
undisputed sovereign over the greater part of the known world. 

Suddenly there appeared a radiant light in the sky, which took 
the form of a cross, with this inscription plainly written upon it, 
in Greek, by this sign conquer. 

Constantine, as well as his soldiers—for the light dazzled the 
eyes of the whole army—wondered greatly at the strange sight. 
The officers consulted the heathen soothsayers and wise men to 
find out what it might mean, and these were inclined to regard it 
as an omen of disaster and defeat in the coming battle, 



The emperor himself, not understanding what this strange sign 
in the heavens could be, was also much cast down because of it, 
for he, too, thought it was a sign of coming evil. But that night, 
while sleeping, he saw another vision. In this the figure of Christ 
appeared to him, holding the cross, and commanding the emperor 
to make a royal standard or banner, like that he had seen in the 
heavens, and cause it to be continually carried before his army, as 
an emblem of faith and ensign of victory. 

Early the next morning, Constantine told his officers what he 
had seen in the night, and sending for proper workmen, sat down 
by them and described to them the form of the standard, which 
he ordered them to make at once of the richest materials and finest 
workmanship. Accordingly they made a long spear, plated with 
gold, with a traverse bar at the top, in the form of a cross; to 
this was fastened a four-square purple banner, embroidered with 
gold, and beset with precious stones, which reflected a dazzling lustre. 
Upon this purple banner there were also pictures of the emperor and 
his two sons. At the top of the spear-shaft, above the cross, was 
fixed a crown, overlaid with gold and jewels. Inside of this golden 
crown was placed the sacred symbol, namely, the two first letters of 
Christ in Greek, X and P, struck one through the other. This device 
Constantine afterward bore not only upon his standard, but also upon 
his coins, many of which are still in existence. 


In consequence of the gospel having been carried into Persia, the 
pagan priests of that country, whose livelihood depended upon the 
continuance of heathen worship, became greatly alarmed. They 
therefore complained to the king, saying that the Christians were 
traitors, and were friendly to Persia’s greatest enemy, the emperor 
of Rome. The king, being himself opposed to Christianity, be- 



lieved their accusations, and issued orders for the persecution of the 
Christians throughout the Persian empire. 

Martrydom of Simeon and Others. 

In consequence of this command, Simeon, archbishop of Seleucia, 
with many other Christians, to the number of 128, were arrested and 
accused of having betrayed the affairs of Persia to the Romans. The 
emperor being greatly angered against them, ordered Simeon, with his 
fellow-prisoners, to be examined as to their faith, and compelled to 
worship the sun, as the Persians did. As they refused to do this, 
the emperor sentenced them to be beheaded, which was at once 

Dreadful Tortures by the Persians. 

The king of Persia then issued an edict that all who confessed 
themselves Christians should be put to death. This order caused 
the destruction of multitudes, who were tortured and slain in many 
horrible ways. A circumstance which at this time increased the 
hatred against the Christians, was the strange illness of the queen. 
This was said by some to be caused by poison, and the sisters of 
Simeon, the archbishop, were accused. After a hasty trial they were 
adjudged guilty, sentenced to be sawn asunder, and their mangled re¬ 
mains were fixed upon poles, between which the sick queen was car¬ 
ried by her physicians, as a means of curing her. 

Acepsimus, a leader among the Christians of Persia, and many 
other persons were seized, and commanded to worship the sun. Re¬ 
fusing to do this, they were scourged, and tormented to death, or 
kept in prison till they died. Athalas, a missionary, though not put 
to death, was so cruelly racked that his arms were made useless, 
and during the rest of his life he had to be fed like a child. 

Constantine Appeals to the King of Persia. 

When Constantine heard of the persecutions in Persia, he was 



much concerned, and began to consider how he could help the Chris¬ 
tians. Just at this time an ambassador arrived from the Persian em¬ 
peror upon some business of state; Constantine received him cour¬ 
teously, granted his requests, and when he departed sent a letter by 
him to the Persian monarch asking favor for the Christians. In this 
he pointed out that misfortune had always overtaken their persecutors 
in former days, while success and prosperity had attended those who 
refrained from harming them. 

Speaking of his victories over rival emperors of his own time, 
he said, “ I subdued these solely by faith in Christ ; for which God 
was my helper, who gave me victory in battle, and made me triumph 
over my enemies. He hath likewise so enlarged to me the bounds 
of the Roman empire, that it extends from the Western Ocean almost 
to the uttermost parts of the East: for this domain I neither offered 
sacrifices to the ancient deities, nor made use of charm or divination; 
but only offered up prayers to the Almighty God, and followed the 
cross of Christ. Rejoiced should I be if the throne of Persia found 
glory also, by embracing the Christians: that so you with me, and 
they with you, may enjoy all happiness.” 

In consequence of this appeal, the persecution ended for the time, 
but it was renewed in later years when another king succeeded to 
the throne of Persia. 


Up to this time the Christian church had been united in doctrine 
and belief; its only enemies were from without. The persecutions 
of heathen nations alone were to be feared, and these, though at 
times widespread and bloody, had seemed powerless to stop its ad¬ 
vance. But with increase in wealth and numbers came dissension. 

The first open contest over questions of doctrine, within the church 
itself, was brought about by Arius, who had fallen away from the true 



faith in Jesus Christ, and taught the people that Christ was not one 
and equal with God the Father. This heresy led away great num¬ 
bers of the half-converted heathen, who did not like to humble their 
souls by confessing that Jesus Christ is God. 

The birthplace and early history of Arius is not certainly known; 
he is first heard of as a presbyter, as priests were then called, engaged 
in a dispute with the bishop of Alexandria. It is recorded that the 
bishop summoned this unruly presbyter to appear before him, and 
after hearing his views gave judgment against him. Arius was then 
expelled from the city, with others of the clergy who upheld him. 

Great Disturbances Caused by Arius. 

As Arius had a great many followers, the result of his condem¬ 
nation was widespread disorder and commotion among the churches. 
Bishops argued against bishops, and congregations were greatly ex¬ 
cited. The mysteries of the Christian faith became a subject of 
irreverent controversy among men, women, and children. Even 
the heathen joined in the profane uproar. 

This difference of opinion between Christians who believed Arius 
to be right and those who knew him to be wrong, caused Constantine 
to call the first great council of the church. It was held at the city 
of Nicsea, in the year 325, and its decision was against Arius. The 
creed adopted at this council, which is known as the Nicene creed, 
was subscribed to by all the members of the council except Arius 
himself, and two bishops, who for their heresy were excommunicated 
and banished. 

This decision did not put an end to Arianism, nor did the death 
of Arius himself, which took place ten years later. The Arians 
continued as a distinct religious sect, outside of the church, until 
about 650; finding many believers in Africa, Spain, and France. It 
then disappeared as a distinct national type of Christianity before 
the growth of Catholicism. 



Arians Upheld by Constantius. 

To return to the events following the council of Nicaea: Con¬ 
stantius, son and successor of Constantine the Great, when he came 
to the throne showed some favor to the Arians, and they were em¬ 
boldened to raise a persecution against the orthodox bishops and 
clergy. Athanasius, the most able defender of the Nicene doctrine, 
and some other bishops, were banished to Gaul, and their places 
filled with Arians. 

In Egypt and Libya, some prelates were martyred and many 
Christian people cruelly abused. George, the Arian bishop of Alex¬ 
andria, under the authority of the emperor, began a persecution in 
that city, which was continued with great severity. Indeed, so fierce 
was this persecution, that the clergy were driven from Alexandria, 
their churches were closed, and the cruelties practised by the Arian 
heretics resembled those of the pagan idolaters of former times. 

Persecution by the Arians. 

The orthodox Christians, being deprived of all places of public 
worship in the city of Alexandria, used to meet in a desert place to 
escape the mob. Hearing of this, George, the Arian bishop, engaged 
Sebastian, the general, to fall upon them with his soldiers, on Sunday 
while they were at prayers; and many were sacrificed to the fury 
of the troops, while others suffered more cruel and lingering deaths, 
being lashed with twigs of palm-trees, with such violence that they 
expired under the blows or by the mortification of their wounds. Sev¬ 
eral of the Christians, whose lives had been spared, were banished to 
the deserts of Africa. 

At this time, not satisfied with the cruelties practised upon the 
Christians in Alexandria, the principal persecutors applied to the 
emperor for an order to banish them from Egypt and Libya, and 
to give up their churches to the Arians. This request Constantius 
granted, and an order was sent to Sebastian, who carried the em- 



peror’s command to all the sub-governors and officers. Hence a 
great number of the clergy were seized and imprisoned; and as 
they all held to the opinions of Athanasius, an order was signed for 
their banishment into the desert. While the clergy were being thus 
abused, many of the people who held to their faith in its purity, 
were condemned to the mines, or compelled to work in the quarries. 
Some few, indeed, escaped to other countries, and several were weak 
enough to renounce their faith in order to avoid the severities of 
this persecution. 

Violence of the Arians. 

Growing stronger, the Arians made Gregory of Cappadocia, a man 
of but moderate abilities, bishop of Alexandria, after having deposed 
Athanasius. In this they were assisted by Philagerius, the governor 
of Egypt, an apostate, who permitted them to commit every outrage. 
Thus encouraged, the mob armed themselves with swords and clubs, 
and broke into one of the principal churches of Alexandria, where a 
great many orthodox Christians were assembled ; and falling upon 
them, without showing any mercy to age or sex, butchered the 
greater number. 

Potamo, a venerable bishop of Heraclea, who had formerly lost 
one of his eyes in Diocletian’s persecution, fell a martyr upon this 
occasion; being so cruelly scourged and beaten, that he died of his 
wounds. The Arians also broke into buildings, both public and 
private, under a pretense of searching for Athanasius, and committed 
many outrages. 

It is indeed disheartening to see, in this early age of the church, 
men calling themselves Christians, many of whom had but lately 
escaped from the hands of their heathen enemies, persecuting each 
other with all the violence and ferocity of the pagans under whom 
they had themselves suffered. But the great principle of religious tol¬ 
eration had yet to become known, and many centuries were to pass 



away before men should learn the folly of trying to enforce religious 
belief with the sword—and unnumbered thousands of human lives 
were to be sacrificed before this great principle should prevail. 

Successors of Constantine the Great. 

Constantine the Great left three sons, Constantinus, Constans, and 
Constantins, among whom he divided his empire. The first two died 
violent deaths after reigning over their portions for only a few years, 
and Constantins, the last surviving and most worthless of the brothers, 
became sole emperor. His reign was also short, and although he 
called himself a Christian, it was marred by cruelty and oppression. 
He died while preparing to go to war with Julian, who had estab¬ 
lished himself, with the aid of his army, as emperor of Rome. 


A. D. 361. 

Julian became sole emperor at the death of Constantins. He was 
the son of Julius Constantins, and the nephew of Constantine the 
Great. Although educated by his father in the Christian faith, he 
was at heart a pagan, and no sooner was he seated upon the throne 
than he made a public avowal of his belief and trust in the ancient 
gods of the heathen; therefore he is known to history as Julian the 

Julian again restored idolatrous worship, by opening the temples 
that had been shut up, rebuilding such as were destroyed, and order¬ 
ing the magistrates and people to follow his example; but he did not 
make any laws against Christianity. On the contrary, he allowed the 
free exercise of religion to every sect. Nevertheless, he deprived 
many Christians of their civil and military offices, and took from 
the clergy privileges granted them by Constantine the Great. Al¬ 
though a heathen, Julian was able, temperate, and brave. These 



ver>^ qualities, however, enabled him to exert a greater influence 
against the spread of Christianity than some of the cruel emperors 
before him had done by violence and oppression. In Julian’s army 
the symbols of paganism and the imperial standards were artfully 
mingled, so that soldiers could not pay the customary homage to 
their emperor without seeming to worship the heathen gods. Also, 
when the men came forward to make any request, or to offer gifts 
to their officers, they were required to throw incense on the altar 
of the heathen gods before being heard. Thus, although the em¬ 
peror, in person, entered upon no general and widespread persecu¬ 
tion of the Christians, he exerted all his pressure and influence to 
restore the old faith. 

After Julian had reigned three years, he crossed the river Tigris, 
and marched against the king of Persia, but was obliged to go back 
before encountering him, because of the sufferings of his army from 
want of water and provisions. While thus retreating, Julian was 
attacked by the Persians, his forces routed, and himself slain. 

Although no violent deaths of Christians are recorded as being 
inflicted by the direct command of Julian during his brief reign, 
there were, nevertheless, several executions in different parts of the 
empire ordered by heathen governors and officers. 

The Story of Basil. 

Basil lived in Galatia, a country of Asia Minor. His eloquence in 
preaching the gospel of Christ brought down upon him the anger 
of the Arian bishop of Constantinople, who issued an order to pre¬ 
vent him from preaching. In spite of this Basil continued to preach, 
until his enemies accused him of being a disturber of the public peace 
and caused charges to be laid before the emperor. Julian was too 
busy preparing for his Persian expedition to take notice of the accusa¬ 
tion, and Basil’s enemies were disappointed in bringing him to trial, so 
he continued to preach against the idolatry of paganism on the one 



hand, and the errors of Arianism on the other; earnestly exhorting 
the people to serve Christ only, in the purity of the faith, 

One day Basil met a number of men and women going in proces¬ 
sion to sacrifice to some heathen god. He boldly chided them for 
such idolatry^, and pointed out to them the folly of such ceremonies. 
This caused the people to seize him and carry him before Saturninus, 
the governor, where they accused him of reviling the gods, abusing 
the emperor, and disturbing the peace of the city. Having heard 
these accusations, Saturninus questioned Basil, and finding that he 
was a Christian, he ordered him to be put to the rack, and then 
sent him to prison, at Ancyra. 

After a time the emperor chanced to come to Ancyra, and the 
people welcomed him with loyal greetings. Julian was soon told of 
Basil’s imprisonment, and made up his mind to examine him. The 
prisoner was therefore brought from his dungeon and the emperor 
tried to persuade him to give up his faith ; but Basil continued firm, 
and with prophetic spirit foretold the early death of the emperor, and 
defeat of his army. Julian, upon hearing this, forgot his usual clem¬ 
ency, and told Basil, in great anger, that although he had been at first 
inclined to pardon him, he now determined to let him remain in prison 
for the remainder of his life. The prisoner was therefore carried back 
to his cell. It is told of him, however, that after Julian’s death he 
was released, and continued as long as he lived a fearless upholder 
of the Christian faith. 

Severus Denounces the Worship of Venus. 

Venus, goddess of love, was revered by the Romans as queen 
of the human heart. Emperors joined in worshipping her, held 
feasts in her honor, and the ablest of them, Julius Caesar, proudly 
claimed descent from her, and from Mars, the god of war. The 
month of April, as the beginning of spring, was held to be the 
appropriate season in which to celebrate the triumphs of this god- 




dess. Her temples were then thronged with worshippers, and mar¬ 
ble statues, representing her in all the glory of perfect womanhood, 
lovely in form and feature, were decked with flowers. 

It was against this popular idol that Severus, a Christian centurion 
in the Roman army, dared to raise his voice. Urged to join in a feast 
to be held in her honor, he not only refused to take any part in the 
heathen ceremony, but denounced Venus herself as representing 
all that was sensual and base in the human heart. Enraged to hear 
their favorite deity thus reviled, the populace seized Severus and 
dragged him before the magistrate. Upon being questioned the 
prisoner repeated the words he ^ had previously spoken, and was at 
once condemned to be taken before the temple of the goddess he 
had insulted, stripped, and scourged with the phcmbetce, a whip made 
of many leathern thongs, each ending in a little ball of lead. 

This sentence was at once carried out, and Severus was cruelly 
beaten by two strong men who were chosen to inflict the dreadful 
punishment. After this had been done in the presence of the angry 
crowd, he was delivered over to the public executioner, who cut 
off his head. 

Donatus, Bishop of Arezzo, and Others. 

About this time, Donatus, bishop of Arezzo, and Hilarinus, a her¬ 
mit, suffered for the faith ; the first being beheaded, and the latter 
scourged to death. Gordian, a Roman magistrate, having a Chris¬ 
tian before hirn for examination, was so affected by his confession 
of faith, that he not only discharged the prisoner, but became a 
Christian himself This so enraged the Roman prefect, who gov¬ 
erned the province, under the emperor, that he ordered the magis¬ 
trate to be scourged and beheaded. 

Two brothers, named John and Paul, of noble family, and hold¬ 
ing high offices under the emperor, were accused of being Christians. 
They were deprived of their positions, and given ten days in which 



to consider whether they would renounce their faith, or suffer mar¬ 
tyrdom. Choosing the latter, they were both beheaded. 

A Schoolmaster Strangely Sentenced. 

Cassian, a schoolmaster of a town not far from Rome, was arrested 
for refusing to sacrifice to the idols. The judge, hearing that the pris¬ 
oner kept a school for boys, and that many of the scholars disliked 
their teacher on account of his strictness in keeping them to their 
studies, thought he could safely entrust the punishment of the pris¬ 
oner to the hands of the boys themselves. 

Cassian was accordingly bound and delivered over to his former 
scholars, who fell upon him fiercely with their styles (sharp-pointed 
irons, used as pens in writing upon wax-covered tablets), and stabbed 
him to death. 

Theodorus, a Christian, was seized and put to the torture. After 
being taken from the rack, he was asked how he could so patiently 
endure such pains; to which question he made this remarkable reply : 

At first I felt some pain, but afterward there appeared to stand by 
me a young man, who wiped the sweat from my face, and frequently 
refreshed me with cold water, which so delighted me, that I regretted 
being let down.’' Theodorus was afterward released. 

Christians Fined for Refusing to Sacrifice to Idols. 

When Julian made ready to fight against the Persians, he fined 
every one who refused to sacrifice to the idols, and by this means got 
a great sum from the Christians to help pay the costs of the war. 

Many of the officers in collecting these fines, exacted more than 
their due, and some of them tortured the Christians to make them 
pay what they demanded, at the same time telling them in derision, 
that when they were injured, they ought to take it patiently, for 
so their God had commanded them. The Christians of Caesarea 
were fined an immense sum^ and several of the most prominent 



persons among them were obliged to serve in the wars, as a pun¬ 
ishment for having overthrown the temples of Jupiter, Fortune, and 

The governor of Phrygia, having cleansed and opened a pagan 
temple, the Christians in the night broke in, and demolished the 
idols. Next day the governor ordered the arrest of all persons 
known to be Christians, that he might make examples of them. By 
this means he would have taken several innocent persons; but those 
who really broke the idols, being too just to see others suffer, vol¬ 
untarily delivered themselves up; and were severely scourged. 

Marcus Stung to Death by Wasps. 

Marcus, the bishop of Arethusa, a town of Thrace, destroyed a 
heathen temple and had a Christian church built up in its place. 
This caused him to be much hated by the heathen, who awaiting 
an opportunity, seized him while separated from his friends, stripped 
him of his clothing, and beat him cruelly with sticks. After they had 
thus revenged themselves upon him, they asked him whether he would 
rebuild their temple which he had torn down. Marcus not only re¬ 
fused to rebuild it, but threatened to have it again destroyed should 
they restore it themselves. Enraged at this defiant answer, his per¬ 
secutors cast about for some way of punishing him, and finally hit 
upon a plan as cruel as it was singular. They bound Marcus with 
cords and placed him in a large basket, which they hung in a tree, 
after first smearing the poor prisoner’s body over with honey, to attract 
the wasps, which were very numerous in that country. After being 
thus hung up in the tree, Marcus was asked for the last time whether 
he would restore the temple; he again refused, and his tormentors left 
him to perish by the stings of the venomous insects. 

Death of Julian the Apostate. 

Julian the Apostate, dying of a wound which he received in bat- 




tie with the Persians, was succeeded by Jovian, who restored peace 
to the church. After the death of Jovian, Valentinian became em¬ 
peror with his brother Valens, who had the command in the East. 
The latter was a great favorer of Arianism. It is even recorded of 
him that he once ordered his soldiers to slay all the Christians in the 
city of Edessa, in Mesopotamia, while they were in the churches. 
The officers, however, being more merciful than the emperor, gave 
warning to the Christians not to assemble on the day appointed, 
so that they might escape death. 

The Christians thanked the officers for the advice, but resolved 
to go to church as usual; accordingly the troops were put in motion 
to destroy them. As they marched along, a woman, with a child in 
her arms, ran through the ranks; seeing this, the officer ordered her 
be brought before him, and asked her where she was going. She 
replied, to the church. But have you not heard, said the officer, of 
the emperor s order, to put to death all who are found there ? I have, 
said she, and for that cause I make the more haste. And whither, 
said the officer, do you take that child ? take him,'' replied she, 
‘‘ with me, that he also may be reckoned among the martyrs." 

Upon this the humane officer returned to the emperor, and telling 
him that all the Christians were prepared to die in defence of their 
faith, begged him not to murder so great a multitude. The emperor, 
therefore, abandoned his cruel design. 


During the reign of Constantine the Great, the light of the gospel 
penetrated even to the country of the barbarians. In north-eastern 
Europe, then called Scythia, some of the Goths, who lived in that 
land, were converted, but most of them continued to be pagans. 

Fritegern, king of the Western Goths, was a friend of the Romans; 
but Athanaric, king of the Eastern Goths, was at war with them. The 


Christians in the dominions of Fritegern, lived in peace; but Athanaric 
having been defeated by the Romans, revenged himself on his Chris¬ 
tian subjects. 

Sabas, a Christian, was the first to feel the king’s anger. Sabas 
was humble and modest, yet ambitious for the advancement of the 
church; indeed, the sanctity of his life and the purity of his morals 
gave the greatest force to his doctrines. Athanaric at last gave 
orders, that all persons in his dominions should sacrifice to the hea¬ 
then gods, and eat the meat which had been offered to the idols, or 
be put to death for disobedience. Some humane persons among the 
heathen, who had Christian relatives, endeavored to save them by 
offering them meat which had not been offered to the idols, while 
the magistrates were made to believe that all had been done accord¬ 
ing to their direction. But Sabas well knew that the sin lay not 
merely in eating; he knew that giving the enemies of the faith the 
advantage of seeming to yield to them was what made the action 
wrong. He, therefore, not only refused to comply, but publicly 
declared that those who sheltered themselves under that deception 
were not true Christians. 

Sabas was soon after seized and carried before a magistrate, who 
inquired into his fortune and circumstances. Finding that he was 
poor and of lowly station, he dismissed him as unworthy of notice. 

Soon after this Sabas went to visit Sansala, a Christian mis¬ 
sionary : but on the third night after his arrival they were both 
seized by a party of soldiers. Sansala was permitted to dress him¬ 
self and to ride, but Sabas was obliged to leave his clothes behind 
him, and to walk. All through the long journey they drove him 
among thorns and briers, beating him at almost every step. In the 
evening they stretched him between two beams, fastening his legs 
to the one and his arms to the other; and in that painful position 
left him for the night. A woman who pitied his sufferings released 
him; but although he was now at liberty, he did not try to escape. 



In the morning the soldiers began to persuade him and his 
fellow-prisoner to renounce their religion, and eat the meat conse¬ 
crated to the idols. They, however, firmly declared that they were 
ready to suffer the most cruel death rather than comply. Sansala 
was at length discharged, but Sabas was ordered to be drowned; 
which sentence was at once carried out. 

Nicetas, who was also a Goth, lived near the Danube with his par¬ 
ents, and though he had long been a Christian, remained unharmed. 
One day Athanaric commanded that an idol should be drawn about 
on a chariot, in all the towns of his dominions inhabited by Chris¬ 
tians. Every one was ordered, when the procession stopped at their 
door, to worship the pretended god. Nicetas firmly refused to come 
out when the idol passed by, and his house was therefore immediately 
set on fire, and every person in it perished. 

How A Heathen Temple was Destroyed. 

At the town of Apamea, in the country of the Scythians, a Chris¬ 
tian missionary preached the gospel and endeavored to put down the 
worship of idols. He was therefore in great danger from the heathen; 
but one day a Roman general, at the head of a large number of sol¬ 
diers came to Apamea, and as he was a favorer of the Christians, he 
determined to help the missionary in his work by ordering his soldiers 
to destroy the temple of Jupiter, which stood in the centre of the 

The general found, however, that tearing down this temple was 
a more difficult task than he had supposed. It was built of great 
blocks of stone, and he feared that if he threw down one part the 
rest might suddenly fall and crush the workmen. He was therefore 
about to give up the undertaking, when a poor laborer, who was a 
Christian, came to him and showed him a way to accomplish the 
work. He pointed out that it would be better first to weaken the 
foundations, by digging under the pillars which supported the roof; 



after doing this he shored them up with wooden beams. After a 
number of the pillars had been thus undermined, the wooden beams 
were set on fire, the pillars came down with a great crash, and the 
whole building fell with them. 

After this the missionary and the general destroyed other temples, 
until, upon going to a place called Aulo, the inhabitants seized the 
missionary, while the soldiers were absent on an expedition to a 
neighboring town, and burned him alive. 


A barbarous people called Vandals crossed over from Spain to the 
north coast of Africa, and under their great leader, Genseric, defeated 
the Roman army and conquered the whole country. As the Vandals 
were Arians they abused the Christians wherever they found them, 
laying waste. all the cities they passed through, and inflicting such 
havoc and ruin upon every object of beauty and value, that the name 
of Vandal has ever since been a proverb for ruthless destruction. 

They even burned the fields of grain so that as many of the 
people as escaped the sword might perish by famine. They plun¬ 
dered the churches, and murdered the bishops and ministers in many 
cruel ways. In particular, they poured rancid and filthy oil and liquids 
down the throats of some till they were suffocated. Others they mar¬ 
tyred by stretching their limbs with cords till the veins and sinews 
burst. They compelled the chief men among their prisoners to 
carry their baggage; and if they did not travel fast enough, they 
pricked them on with sharp goads, so that several died under their 
burdens. Old men found no mercy, and even innocent babes felt 
the rage of their barbarity. Stately buildings were destroyed; and 
all the principal churches in Carthage were used for their barbarous 
worship. When a town held out against them, they brought great 
numbers of Christians and slew them, leaving their bodies under the 



walls, so that the beseiged might be forced to surrender on account 
of the pestilence. 

When the Vandals took the city of Carthage, they put the 
bishop, with many Christians, into a leaky ship, and committed it 
to the mercy of the waves, thinking that they must all perish; but 
the vessel arrived safe at another port. Several Christians were 
beaten, scourged, and banished to the desert, where it pleased God 
to make them the means of converting many of the Moors to Chris¬ 
tianity ; but this coming to the knowledge of Genseric, he sent 
orders that they and their converts should be tied by the feet to 
chariots, and dragged till they were dashed to pieces. 

The Bishop of Urice and Others are Slain. 

The bishop of Urice was burned; and the bishop of Habensa was 
banished, for refusing to deliver up the sacred books. A whole con¬ 
gregation which had assembled together in a church, together with the 
minister who was preaching to them, were murdered by the Vandals, 
who broke in without warning. 

Archinimus, a devout Christian, was brought before Genseric him¬ 
self for trial. The king finding him firm in his faith, ordered him to 
be beheaded. He, however, privately said to the executioner, “ If the 
prisoner is courageous, and willing to die, strike not, for I do not in¬ 
tend that he shall have the honor of being deemed a martyr.” The 
executioner, finding Archinimus happy in the thought of dying for 
the sake of Christ, brought him back to prison again; from which 
he was soon after missing, and never heard of more, being, it was 
said by some, privately murdered by the king’s order. 

Five Thousand Christians Banished. 

Eugenius, bishop of Carthage, was eminent for his learning and 
piety, which brought upon him the hatred of the Arians. They 
took great pains to stir up the anger of the king against him and 



others of the orthodox Christians. Consequently, Genseric banished 
more than five thousand persons to a desert in the south, where many 
of them perished. He also wrote a letter to Eugenius, in which he 
commanded that he should send out an order to all the churches in 
Africa, calling the orthodox bishops to meet at Carthage for the pur¬ 
pose of disputing with the Arians. Knowing they would not have a 
fair hearing, the bishop sent a petition to the king asking that the 
dispute might not take place, unless representatives from churches in 
Europe and Asia could be present. But the king paid no heed to 
this reasonable request; and even banished several of the most 
learned orthodox prelates before the council took place, so that the 
Arians might have the advantage. 

At the appointed time for the council, the orthodox clergy" chose 
ten of their number to act in the name of the rest. On the other side 
Cyrilla, an Arian, took the title of patriarch upon the occasion, and 
was seated on a magnificent throne. The Arian prelates were allowed 
to sit near him, but the orthodox bishops were obliged to stand. After 
much disorder the othodox party was refused all privileges, its churches 
were shut up, and the revenues confiscated. Then the clergy them¬ 
selves were compelled to leave Carthage. 

Persecution by an Arian Bishop. 

Cyrilla, the Arian bishop of Carthage, was a great enemy to those 
Christians who professed the faith in its purity. He persuaded the 
king that he could never prosper in his undertakings, or enjoy his 
kingdom in peace, while he permitted so many of his subjects to 
practise that form of worship. He therefore attempted to draw 
them from their faith by flattery, and to bribe them by the promise 
of immediate worldly rewards. But against this temptation they 
were firm and constant, declaring resolutely against Arianism, and 
saying. We acknowledge but one Lord, and one faith; you may 
therefore do whatever you please with our bodies, for it is better 



that we should suffer a few temporary pains, than endure everlast¬ 
ing misery. The governor being greatly angered by this, sent them 
to prison under sentence of death. The keeper, however, permitted 
their friends to see them; by which they were more confirmed in 
their resolution of dying for the true faith. 

A Ship-load of Christians Burned. 

When the governor heard of the favor they had received, he was 
very angry, and sent orders that they should be clos^y confined, and 
loaded with fetters. He then began to consider by what means he 
should put them to death, and at length ordered them to be put on 
a ship filled with wood and straw. The vessel was then set on fire, 
and all who were aboard of her were either drowned, or perished in 
the flames. The names of the chief men among these Christians were 
Rusticus, Liberatus, Rogatus, Servus, Septimus, and Boniface. 


RO:\IE AND THE EMPIRE OF THE WEST, a. d. 375-400. 

Although the Christian church continued to grow in power, 
under the guidance of able bishops, Rome herself, and the old cities 
of the empire, began to decline. There was to be seen in them a 
strange mingling of Christian ceremonial and heathen vicG. The peo¬ 
ple were so idle and pleasure-loving that scarcely one Roman citizen 
had any longer the courage to fight in battle; but as they still had a 
great deal of money, they hired Goths, Germans, or Gauls—hardy 
barbarians from the wild countries of the North—to come and fight 
for them. 

In Rome little was cared for but feasting and display, or looking 
on at the games in the Colosseum. The pleasure-loving Romans 
rushed in thousands to the great circular building to see chariot 
races, fights of armed gladiators, and combats between men and 
wild beasts. Christianit}^ had not yet put an end to these cruel 
pastimes, although they were being continually preached against 
by the clergy. 

Much time was also idled away by the Romans at the public baths, 
which were the places for social meeting and gossip as well as bathing. 
The soft, steamy air and warm waters of these baths, which were usu¬ 
ally placed in beautiful and richly decorated marble buildings, helped 
to take away from these once brave and warlike people their ancient 
valor and resolution. The clothing of the Roman ladies was of the 
most gorgeous description, and the whole manner of life in the city^ 
was as wasteful and self-indulgent as it is possible to imagine. Good 

and religious people tried to escape from the evil life of the capital; 




many of the men became hermits and monks, and went to live in 
wild and desolate places, far from the licentious crowd. 

At this time a terrible, wild tribe, called Huns, drove the Goths 
across the Danube into Roman territory, and while trying to force 
them back again, Valens, the Roman emperor, was killed. 

Theodosius, a brave and able general who succeeded Valens, made 
peace with the Goths, gained great victories over heathen nations 
in the East, and at last succeeded in uniting the empires of the East 
and West, and ruled over both as sole emperor. He was a good 
ruler and a friend to the Christians. He died at Milan, in the fiftieth 
year of his age, being the last to occupy the throne who really de¬ 
served the name of a Roman emperor—though the title was kept up 
for years by unworthy rulers, under whom Rome suffered all the 
horrors of defeat and pillage. 

First Invasion of Alaric the Goth. 

The two sons of Theodosius succeeded him, and soon after they 
had taken the throne the Goths rose again, crossed the Danube under 
their great leader Alaric, and spread over Greece. In religion the 
Goths were Arians, and called themselves Christians; therefore they 
destroyed all the statues and temples of the heathen gods, but did 
no harm to the orthodox Christian churches. Alaric had all the 
qualities of a great general. To the wild bravery of the Gothic bar¬ 
barian he added the courage and skill of the Roman soldier. He 
led his forces across the Alps into Italy, and although driven back 
for the time, returned afterward with an irresistible force. 

The Last Roman ''Triumph.” 

After this fortunate victory over the Goths a " triumph,” as it was 
called, was celebrated at Rome. For hundreds of years successful 
generals had been awarded this great honor on their return from a 
victorious campaign. Upon such occasions the city was given up 



for days to the marching of troops laden with spoils, and who dragged 
after them prisoners of war, among whom were often captive kings 
and conquered generals. This was to be the last Roman triumph, 
for it celebrated the last Roman victory. Although it had been 
won by Stilicho, the general, it was the boy emperor, Honorius, who 
took the credit, entering Rome in the car of victory, and driving to 
the Capitol amid the shouts of the populace. Afterward, as was cus¬ 
tomary on such occasions, there were bloody combats in the Colos¬ 
seum, where gladiators, armed with swords and spears, fought as 
furiously as if they were on the field of battle. 

The Story of Telemachus. 

The first part of the bloody entertainment was finished ; the bodies 
of the dead were dragged off with hooks, and the reddened sand 
covered with a fresh clean layer. After this had been done the 
gates in the wall of the arena were thrown open, and a number of 
tall, well-formed men in the prime of youth and strength came for¬ 
ward. Some carried swords, others three-pronged spears and nets. 
They marched once around the walls, and stopping before the em¬ 
peror, held up their weapons at arm’s length, and with one voice 
sounded out their greeting, Ave, Ccesar, moritiiri te sahitant ! Hail, 
Caesar, those about to die salute thee!” 

The combats now began again; the gladiators with nets tried to 
entangle those with swords, and when they succeeded mercilessly 
stabbed their antagonists to death with the three-pronged spear. 
When a gladiator had wounded his adversary, and had him lying 
helpless at his feet, he looked up at the eager faces of the spec¬ 
tators, and cried out. Hoc habet ! He has it!” and awaited the 
pleasure of the audience to kill or spare. 

If the spectators held out their hands toward him, with thumbs 
upward, the defeated man was taken away, to recover if possible 
from his wounds. But if the fatal signal of thumbs down ” was 



given, the conquered was to be slain; and if he showed any reluc¬ 
tance to present his neck for the death-blow, there was a scornful 
shout from the galleries, Recipe ferrtmi! '' Receive the steel!” 

Privileged persons among the audience would even descend into the 
arena, to better witness the death-agonies of some unusually brave 
victim, before his corpse was dragged out at the death-gate. 

The show went on; many had been slain, and the people, madly 
excited by the desperate bravery of those who continued to fight, 
shouted their applause. But suddenly there was an interruption. 
A rudely clad, robed figure appeared for a moment among the 
audience, and then boldly leaped down into the arena. He was 
seen to be a man of rough but imposing presence, bareheaded and 
with sun-browned face. Without hesitating an instant he advanced 
upon two gladiators engaged in a life-and-death struggle, and laying 
his hand upon one of them sternly reproved him for shedding inno¬ 
cent blood, and then, turning toward the thousands of angry faces 
ranged around him, called upon them in a solemn, deep-toned voice 
which resounded through the great enclosure. These were his words: 
Do not, said he, requite God’s mercy in turning away the swords of 
your enemies by murdering each other! 

Angry shouts and cries at once drowned his voice: This is no 
place for preaching!—the old customs of Rome must be observed I 
—On, gladiators 1 Thrusting aside the stranger, the gladiators would 
have again attacked each other, but the man stood between, holding 
them apart, and trying in vain to be heard. Sedition 1 sedition I down 
with him! was then the cry; and the gladiators, enraged at the inter¬ 
ference of an outsider with their chosen vocation, at once stabbed 
him to death. Stones, or whatever missiles came to hand, also rained 
down upon him from the furious people, and thus he perished, in the 
midst of the arena. 

His dress showed him to be one of the hermits who vowed them¬ 
selves to a holy life of prayer and self-denial, and who were rever- 




enced by even the thoughtless and combat-loving Romans. The 
few who knew him told how he had come from the wilds of Asia 
on a pilgrimage, to visit the churches and keep his Christmas at 
Rome; they knew he was a holy man, and that his name was 
Telemachus—no more. His spirit had been stirred by the sight of 
thousands flocking to see men slaughter one another, and in his 
simple-hearted zeal he had tried to convince them of the cruelty and 
wickedness of their conduct. He had died, but not in vain. His work 
was accomplished at the moment he was struck down, for the shock 
of such a death before their eyes turned the hearts of the people: 
they saw the hideous aspects of the favorite vice to which they had 
blindly surrendered themselves; and from the day Telemachus fell 
dead in the Colosseum, no other fight of gladiators was ever held 

Conquest of Rome by the Goths, a. d. 410. 

Although the Goths had been driven back for a while, they soon 
came down from the North in greater numbers than before. And this 
time there was no Roman general able to oppose Alaric. Stilicho, 
the former conqueror, had been killed by jealous rivals. Honorius, 
the young and almost idiotic emperor, fled to the city of Ravenna, 
and, safe behind its walls and marshes, thought of nothing but feed¬ 
ing and caring for a favorite flock of chickens. Alaric encamped 
outside the walls of Rome, thus cutting off all supplies of food, and 
calmly waited for starvation to bring the people to terms. When the 
food was all gone, and after hunger had caused the death of thousands, 
the citizens sent out a company of the chief men of Rome to the 
Gothic chieftain, to offer him money to spare the city. But Alaric de¬ 
manded such an enormous sum that even the starving Romans were 
aghast, and refused at first to pay it. They said, “ There are yet 
many of us left, and we can fight.” To this idle threat the Goth 
contemptuously replied, “ The closer the grass stands, the quicker 
it is mown.” What will you leave remaining to us, if we consent to 



open the gates? asked the Romans. “Your lives,” was the hard an¬ 
swer of the stern Goth. 

At last not a particle of food remained in the once luxurious city, 
and the people had either to die or yield. They chose the latter and 
agreed to pay their enemy the ransom he had asked, which was: Five 
thousand pounds of gold; thirty thousand pounds of silver; four 
thousand silk robes; three thousand pieces of scarlet cloth; and 
three thousand pounds of pepper. 

Thus Rome for the time escaped the hands of the destroyer; but 
it was only for a time. Alaric soon returned and entered the gates 
with his whole army. He did not wish, however, to utterly ruin and 
throw down the grand old capital, nor to butcher the inhabitants; but 
his soldiers were greedy for plunder, and he gave them permission 
for six days to despoil the city, but ordered them not to kill the peo¬ 
ple nor to injure churches. The wild and furious band could not, how¬ 
ever, be entirely controlled, and terrible hardships were suffered by 
the people of Rome; but on the whole the damage done to the city 
was less than might have been expected, and the principal churches 
were left unharmed. 

One of the stories of this time which has come down to us is the 
following: An old woman had been cruelly beaten to make her reveal 
the hiding-place of her money; but when at last her tormentors came 
to believe that she had none, but had spent it all in charity during the 
hardships of the siege, they repented of having used her so cruelly, 
and gently led her to the shelter of the church, where, however, she 
soon died of her injuries. 

Death of Alaric. 

After twelve days Alaric left Rome and continued to march south 
with all his forces, plundering the beautiful country houses of the 
Roman nobles on the way. At Cosenza, in the extreme south, he 
fell ill of a fever, and died. At his burial his warriors turned the 



waters of the river Bionzo aside, dug his grave in the bed of the 
stream, and turned the river back again to its course, so that no man 
might know where they had laid the body of the great Goth. 

One good thing came of the Gothic conquest—the pagans were 
put down for ever by the Arian conquerors. Their temples were 
utterly destroyed by the Goths, and the heathen idols broken in 
pieces. The weak and cowardly emperor, Honorius, remained in 
his refuge at Ravenna, but the bishop of Rome—or, as the Romans 
had begun to call him. Papa, father, or Pope—came back and put 
the churches in order. 

Constantinople, and the Eastern part of the empire was better off 
than Italy, being not so exposed to the incursions of barbarians, yet 
it too was tormented by the Persians on the East, and by the Goths 
on the North. Owing, however, to brave and able rulers the Eastern 
empire yet stood, while the West was fast crumbling to pieces. 

The Invasion of the Huns, a. d. 453. 

And now a terrible enemy came against Rome. The Huns, a wild 
and savage people of Asia, came swarming southward, led by their 
great chief Attila, leaving every country through which they passed 
streaming with blood and lurid with flames. Attila led his host into 
Italy and destroyed all the beautiful cities of the North. Advancing 
to Rome, no soldiers were there to defend it, but the brave pope, Leo 
I., went out at the head of his clerg}^ to meet the barbarian, and sol¬ 
emnly threatened him with the wrath of Heaven if he let loose his 
cruel followers upon the city. 

Attila, heathen though he was, felt awed by the majestic presence 
and solemn warning of the head of the Christian church, and content¬ 
ing himself with a hea\y ransom, returned to the Danube. 

Rome Sacked by the Vandals, a. d. 455. 

Genseric, with his horde of Vandals, fresh from the conquest of 
the Roman provinces in Africa, was the next assailant of the doomed 


city. He would take no ransom, but turned his wild followers loose 
to plunder for themselves. I'or fourteen days they pillaged Rome, 
stripping churches and palaces alike, and putting all their booty on 
ships, to be carried back to Africa. 

The golden candlestick, and table for shewbread, from the temple 
at Jerusalem were among the priceless treasures lost through these 
barbarous and greedy destroyers. No less than sixty thousand cap¬ 
tives were also carried away into dreadful bondage. This was the 
most terrible calamity that Rome, once the queen of cities, had 
ever suffered from, and a few years later she fell, with the whole 
empire of the West, and became subject to successive kings or em¬ 
perors who were merely the victorious leaders of invading armies 
of Germans, Goths, or Gauls. 

This dark age for the great empire which had once ruled the 
world, lasted over three centuries. But in the year 800, Charles the 
Great, of France, was chosen emperor according to the old form, 
and from that time there arose again the Empire of the West. 

But it was no longer as an imperial city, but as the home and 
central state of the Christian church, that Rome was again to domi¬ 
nate the world. The time was to come when the bishops of Rome, 
or popes, would direct from the papal palace all the affairs of the 
church in every part of the world. For centuries they were a power 
for good, directing with matchless ability noble bands of mission¬ 
aries who carried Christianity to every country in the known world. 
But with increased strength came worldly pomp. They lived like 
princes, and came at last to claim not only control over the souls 
and consciences of men, but authority to rule their every act as well. 
They sought not only to direct the affairs of the church, but they 
governed the nations of the earth. 

The popes who came to wield this enormous power were, naturally, 
no longer holy men, self-denying, poor, and persecuted; but were rich, 

arrogant nobles. Many of them were cruel, greedy of gain, and lux- 

i 62 the worths CHRISTIAN MARTYRS. 

urious ; hurling against rebellious sovereigns the awful curse of Rome, 
and dooming thousands of better men than themselves to the rack or 
the flames. 

But it is not yet time to leave the history of the early pagan perse¬ 
cution, in the age when heathen foes without and fervent faith within 
kept the Christian ranks filled with an earnest band of workers. Men 
and women there were, pure in doctrine and in morals, who were ready 
—even eager—to endure any hardship, or, if need be, to suffer martyr¬ 
dom for the faith they loved. 


The Story of Julia of Carthage. 

When the Vandals sacked Carthage, a young woman named 
Julia was taken prisoner, and after being sold and resold as a slave, 
she became the property of a Syrian, named Eusebius. Julia’s mas¬ 
ter frequently took her with him upon his voyages : in one of these 
they landed upon the island of Corsica, where Eusebius took part in 
an idolatrous feast, but Julia remained away from it. The heathen 
complained of her absence as disrespectful to their gods, and told 
the governor Felix of it, who sent for Eusebius, and demanded of 
him what young woman it was who had refused to join in wor¬ 
shipping their gods. 

Eusebius replied that the young woman was a Christian, and that 
all his authority over her could not induce her to renounce her religion; 
but in spite of that she was a very diligent and faithful attendant. 

Felix urged him to compel her to worship the gods, or to part with 
her; and offered to give him his own price, or four of his best female 
slaves in exchange for her; but this offer Eusebius refused. When 
Felix found he could not persuade him, he determined to get Julia into 
his power by strategy; so he invited Eusebius to a supper, and having 
plied him with wine, sent for the slave in the name of her master. 


Julia, not suspecting the danger, immediately obeyed. As soon 
as she appeared the governor told her that he would purchase her 
liberty, if she would sacrifice to the heathen gods; but not being 
able to prevail, he ordered her to be severely beaten, and finding her 
still resolute, he commanded that the hair of her head should be 
pulled out by the roots. This cruel treatment having no effect, he 
sentenced her to be hanged. 

Scarcely was Julia dead when Eusebius recovered from his stupor, 
and hearing what had passed, he, in the first transports of his rage, 
thought of complaining to the emperor, who would have punished 
the governor. But after a time he reflected that this would put an 
end to his trade in that port; and also, that Felix had only tried to 
get converts to the gods he himself believed in; so he determined to 
put up with the loss, and sailed away. 

Account of Anastasius. 

Anastasius, a Persian, was brought up a heathen, and bore arms 
as a soldier under Chosroes, the king of Persia, at the time that mon¬ 
arch plundered Jerusalem. Among the spoils carried away was a 
cross, said to be the very one upon which Christ was crucified. 

Anastasius could not understand why the Christians had such ven¬ 
eration for one who had died so mean a death as that of crucifixion; 
for death on the cross was despised by the Persians. At length some 
Christian captives instructed him in the faith, and being struck by its 
truths, he left the army, resolving to follow peaceful employments. 
After a time he went to Jerusalem, where he carried on the trade of 
a goldsmith. He was baptized by Modestus, vicar-general of Jeru¬ 
salem, and stayed a week with his godfather Elias. When that time 
was over, and he had changed the white clothes which he wore at his 
baptism, according to the practice of the church, he begged to be 
allowed to study for the priesthood. 

Elias recommended him to Justin, abbot of a seminary four miles 



from Jerusalem, who engaged a preceptor to instruct him in the 
Greek tongue, and teach him the Psalms; and afterward admitted 
him into his community. Anastasius passed seven years in that 
house, dividing his time between humble domestic employments and 
study of the Scriptures. 

Going to Caesarea, which was then in the hands of the Persians, 
Anastasius was arrested as a spy, and brought before Marzabanes, 
the governor, for trial. He freely admitted that he was a Christian, 
and was sent to prison. Many attempts were made to bring him 
back to heathenism, and at length Justin, being told of his suffer¬ 
ings, recommended him to the prayers of the whole community, and 
sent two of his people to encourage him to persevere. 

The governor at length wrote to the king concerning Anastasius, 
and the sovereign did all in his power to make him renounce his re¬ 
ligion, but finding his efforts of no avail, he ordered him to be tor¬ 
tured and slain, which was done in this manner. He was placed upon 
his back, with a beam across his legs, and this was pressed down 
with the entire weight of two strong men; he was then scourged, 
hung up by one hand, with a heavy stone fastened to his foot; 
and at last his head was cut off, and sent to the king. 

The Story of Kilien. 

The native country of Kilien was Ireland. His parents had been 
converted by one of the many missionaries from Rome, who travelled 
to almost every land to tell the people of Christ. 

After Kilien had reached manhood he became himself a missionary, 
and crossed the sea, with eleven others, to preach the gospel in Ger¬ 
many. When they had come to the country near the mouth of the 
river Rhine, they found the people heathens, but they received the 
missionaries kindly, and Kilien journeyed on to Rome to get author¬ 
ity from the pope to build churches, and preach to them. The pope, 
after asking him some questions about his faith and doctrine, conse- 


crated him bishop, with full permission to establish churches, and 
to preach to the heathen, wherever he might find them. 

Kilien at once returned to Germany, where he opened his mission; 
but he had not taught the people long, before their king sent for him 
to ask about this new religion which he preached so boldly. The 
bishop then put forth all his powers to influence the king, and God 
gave such a blessing to his efforts that he was converted to the faith, 
and gave the faithful missionary full authority to preach in all parts 
of his dominions. The king also commanded the attention of his 
subjects to Kilien's teaching, and thus encouraged, the greater part 
of them became Christians. 

But as the king was unlawfully married to a wife who had another 
husband, he was rebuked by Kilien, who entreated him, as the last 
proof of his conversion, to put away that woman whom he called 
his wife, as to live with her was sinful. The king was much cast 
down at this request, and said to the bishop that it was the hardest 
thing he had asked of him. But, said he, since I have given up so 
many of my own inclinations and pleasures for the love of God, I 
will make the work complete by doing this also. 

But the woman who was to be put away was still powerful, and 
she swore by all her gods that she would be revenged upon the men 
who sought to bring about her fall. So she sent soldiers who took 
Kilien and his companions and slew them all, and buried their bodies 
by night in a lonely place. Some days after, the king being surprised 
that he had not seen Kilien, ordered diligent search to be made for 
him. His guilty wife, to stop the inquiry, gave out that he and his 
companions had left the country without giving any intimation of their 
intentions. But one of the soldiers, stricken with remorse of con¬ 
science, ran about like a madman, and declared that Kilien haunted 
him. Thus disordered, he was seized, and the king found out what 
had happened. But in the end his wife won him over, and persuaded 
him to leave the God of the Christians, and return to his idols. 


This the king was weak enough to do, and the murderer was set 
at liberty. But it is related that the woman was so tortured by re- 
rnorse that she soon after expired; and the king’s own part in the 
murder was punished by a violent death. 

The Story of Boniface, a. d. 685-755. 

Boniface was a native of Britain, and when quite young had been 
taught by missionaries from Rome, and thus learned to be a Christian. 
The gospel was being preached at this time all through the land, and 
churches were being built. There had been, however, four persecu¬ 
tions, but they had been powerless in Britain, as elsewhere, to stop the 
spread of the gospel. The first was under the Roman emperor Dio¬ 
cletian, during which Christians suffered in Britain as they did in all 
other provinces of the empire. The second was by the Piets, a bar¬ 
barous race who butchered all who came in their way. The third was 
by the Saxons, under Hengist; and the fourth by the Saxons again, 
and other German tribes. 

But when Boniface lived there was no persecution to be dreaded in 
Britain; that had all passed away, and religious houses, or monasteries, 
where Christian priests lived and labored, were starting up all over the 
land. Not only the gospel of Christ was taught by the good monks, 
but knowledge of various kinds—reading and writing, grammar, music, 
and philosophy—were learned by a few of the brighter minds among 
the ignorant herdsmen and peasants who formed the people of Eng¬ 
land at this early time. Among the most promising scholars in the 
monastery at Exeter was Boniface. 

Wolfrad, the abbot, finding that Boniface had uncommon genius, 
sent him to Nutscelle, a seminary of learning in the diocese of 
Winchester, where he could have better teachers. The abbot of 
Nutscelle, who was celebrated for his learning, took great pains with 
the young pupil, who, in time, became a teacher himself 

The abbot, seeing that Boniface was well qualified for the priest- 



hood, influenced him, when he had reached the age of about thirty 
years, to take holy orders. From this time Boniface labored to con¬ 
vert the heathen and began to show that fearless spirit which after¬ 
ward qualified him to carry the gospel of Christ to the most savage 
and distant parts of the world. 

Travels of Boniface. 

After a time Boniface went to Rome, and was received by pope 
Gregory II. with great favor. The pope gave him permission to preach 
the gospel to the heathen, wherever he found them. Leaving Rome, 
Boniface passed through Lombardy and Bavaria, and came to Thurin¬ 
gia, which country had before received the gospel, but had, up to the 
time Boniface arrived there, made little progress. His first mission, 
therefore, was to bring these people back to the purity of the faith ; 
and having completed this work, he went to Utrecht, in Holland, to 
assist Willebrod, the first bishop of that city, who gladly welcomed 
one who was so earnest and faithful. 

For three years these two good men labored together in putting 
down idolatry; and so far succeeded, that most of the people received 
baptism, and many of the heathen temples were changed into Chris¬ 
tian churches. Boniface now journeyed eastward, to Hesse, in Ger¬ 
many, where he brought a knowledge of the truth to two noblemen, 
who, though they called themselves Christians, yet practised many of 
the rites of heathenism. They, however, became such true converts 
that they gave an estate to Boniface, who built a religious house upon 
it. After this he went to Saxony, where he conv^erted some thou¬ 
sands to the Christian faith. 

Boniface worked in this new field with great success for a year; 
he then sent one of his companions to Rome, with an account of what 
he had done; upon reading which, Gregory H. sent him a letter, desir¬ 
ing him to come to Rome. On his arrival, the pope showed him every 
mark of esteem and affection, and determined not to let him return to 


his missionary labors until he had made him a bishop. He was ac¬ 
cordingly consecrated, with the name of Boniface. 

On being thus qualified for governing his churches, he left Rome, 
and after making many converts in different places, he returned to his 
mission in Germany. Here he was very successful, though he met with 
many that would willingly have been Christians by halves; they were 
ready enough to acknowledge Christ, but did not want entirely to let 
go their heathen customs. In one country people were found who were 
actually worshipping a large oak tree, which was said by them to be 
Jupiter himself This tree Boniface ordered to be cut down. The 
people, finding that Jupiter did not revenge himself upon those who 
had destroyed it, owned the weakness of their god and were baptized. 

Monasteries Erected by Boniface. 

When Gregory HI. succeeded to the papal chair, Boniface sent 
persons to Rome, to acquaint him with the success of his labors, and 
to ask assistance in some difficulties which occurred in his mission. 
The pope not only answered the message by assuring him of the com¬ 
munion and friendship of Rome, but granted him the title of arch¬ 
bishop, or metropolitan of all Germany, and empowered him to estab¬ 
lish new bishoprics. Boniface did so, and also built several monas¬ 
teries. He then made a third journey to Rome, and Gregory, who 
had much affection for him, kept him there the greater part of the 
year. At length he left Rome, and set out for Bavaria, to reform 
some abuses introduced by persons who had never received holy 

Death of Boniface. 

Now Boniface, having reached his seventieth year, was no longer 
able to work as he had done, so he chose Lullus, his countryman 
and faithful friend, to be his successor; telling him to build a church 
at Fuld, and see him buried in it, for his end was near. 

But, longing to go once again on a mission to the heathen, Boniface 




went to the sea coast of Holland, where he converted and baptized 
many of the natives, destroyed several heathen temples, and raised 
churches on their ruins. Now, having fixed a day for baptizing a ^ 
great number of the new converts, he told them to assemble in an 
open plain near the river Bourde, going there himself the day before, 
and pitching a tent, intending to remain on the spot all night, so as to 
be ready in the morning early. But a band of barbarians, having 
heard of this, poured down upon him and his companions in the night, 
to kill them. The servants of Boniface would have fought against 
them, but he told them to put up their weapons, as he wanted to go 
and speak to the strangers and tell them of his peaceful errand. 
Boniface, therefore, advanced into the midst of the threatening crowd, 
but had spoken only a few words to them when they rushed in upon 
him and murdered him, with fifty-two of his companions. 

Invasions of the Saracens. 

In Syria and Arabia lived the Saracens. They were a fierce and 
warlike people, who not only ruled over these countries, but took pos¬ 
session of Palestine also. Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and all the 
cities of the Holy Land fell into their hands. The Saracens were fol¬ 
lowers of the false prophet, Mohammed. They worshipped him as a 
god, and hated the Christians. They overran a great part of the East¬ 
ern empire, and gained many victories. 

Among other cities attacked by the Saracens was Armauria, in 
Armenia. It was bravely defended, and the besiegers would have 
failed to take it, had not a deserter from within the city itself shown 
them a secret passage through the walls. In the assault that fol¬ 
lowed most of the inhabitants were put to the sword, but two of 
the officers, and forty of the chief citizens, were carried away pris¬ 
oners to Bagdad, where they were loaded with chains, and confined 
in a dark dungeon. They remained in prison for some months, with¬ 
out seeing any person but their jailer, and having scarcely enough food 


given them to maintain life. At last they were told that unless they 
renounced Christianity they must all die; but instead of being alarmed 
by this threat, and induced to abandon their faith, they denounced the 
false prophet, and declared that they would remain Christians to the 
last. This enraged their persecutors, who kept them some time longer 
in prison, until one of their holidays, when all of the martyrs, forty- 
two in number, were taken out and beheaded. 

The Story of Perfectus. 

Perfectus was a Christian who lived in Corduba, a city of southern 
Spain. One day, while he was walking in the street, he was approached 
by two men from Arabia, who were Mahommedans, and who began to 
talk with him about their respective religions. 

Perfectus replied to their questions by telling them of the divinity 
of Christ, the redemption of mankind, and the principles of the Chris¬ 
tian faith. The Arabians then asked him what he had to say of 
Mohammed, and pressed him to freely speak his thoughts. But 
Perfectus told them that his belief was not theirs, and declined at 
first to state his opinion. They entreated him, however, to speak 
his mind, declaring that they would not be offended at anything he 
should say. Then Perfectus, believing them sincere, and hoping this 
might be the favorable time for their conversion, told them that the 
Christians looked on Mohammed as one of the false prophets fore¬ 
told in the gospel, who were to seduce and deceive great numbers, to 
their eternal ruin. To illustrate this, he related some of the actions 
of that impostor; endeavored to show them the impious doctrines 
of his book, the Alcoran ; and begged them earnestly to abandon 
their miserable state of unbelief, which would certainly be followed 
by eternal misery. 

The infidels were much enraged to hear their prophet thus spoken 
of; they thought proper, however, to disguise their anger, but resolved 
not to let Perfectus escape. So, waiting for a favorable opportunity. 



they seized him and hurried him away to one of their chief magis¬ 
trates, and accused him of blaspheming their great prophet. Upon 
hearing this the judge ordered him to be put in chains and confined 
in prison till their yearly fast of Ramadan, during which, for forty 
days, they fast during the daytime and eat only at night. Perfectus, 
unmoved, heard the sentence, and calmly prepared for his martyr¬ 
dom. At the time appointed he was led to the place of execution, 
where he again made a confession of his faith, declared Mohammed 
an impostor, and said that the Alcoran was filled with absurdities 
and blasphemies. In consequence of this he was ordered to be 
beheaded, which bloody sentence was at once carried out. His 
body was buried by the Christians of Corduba. 



Alphage of Canterbury. 

Alphage, archbishop of Canterbuiy, came of a family of good 
estate, living in Gloucestershire, England. His parents were Chris¬ 
tians who carefully watched over the education of their children. 
Alphage showed at an early age that he possessed an unusually 
bright mind, and made great progress in his favorite studies, which 
were the holy Scriptures and the history of the church. 

When Alphage reached manhood he determined to leave his 
father’s house and enter one of the monasteries, or religious houses, 
in order to devote his whole time to study; so he went to live in a 
monastery of Benedictines, at Deerhurst, in Gloucestershire, and soon 
after took the habit of the order—that is, became a monk. Here he 
lived quietly for some time, but at length, thinking the rules of this 
monastery not severe enough, he left it, and took up his abode near 
the town of Bath. 

Here his self-denying life soon became the subject of conversation, 
and many troubled souls came to him and begged him to teach them. 



Gladly consenting to do this, he bent all his energies to the work of 
founding a monastery for them, which he completed, with the help 
of his friends, who contributed money for the building. Alphage 
then formed his new pupils into a community, and placed a prior 
over them. Having made rules for their daily life, he again retired 
to his cell, hoping to pass the remainder of his days in quiet 

But the bishopric of Winchester becoming vacant by the death 
of Ethelwold, Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbur}% as primate of all 
England, selected Alphage to fill the place, thus making him bishop 
of Winchester. Alphage accepted the high office with some reluc¬ 
tance, but soon showed himself well able to fill it Churches flour¬ 
ished in his diocese; unity was established among his clergy and 
people; and the management of the affairs of the church of Win 
Chester caused the new bishop to be revered by the whole kingdom. 
Dunstan greatly admired and loved him, and some years later, when 
ill and dying, made it his prayer that Alphage might succeed him as 
archbishop of Canterbury. After a time this came to pass, though 
not till eighteen years after Dunstan’s death. 

Soon after Alphage had become archbishop of Canterbury he 
went to Rome, and receiv^ed high honors from pope John XVIII. 

The Danes Take Canterbury. 

After Alphage had governed the see of Canterbury about four 
years, the Danes made one of their flying attacks upon the country, 
and king Ethelred, who then reigned, being afraid to face them, 
allowed them to ravage his kingdom with impunity. 

During this emergency, the archbishop Alphage acted with great 
resolution. He went boldly to the Danes, bought the freedom of 
several of his friends whom they had made captives; found means 
to send food to others, whom he had not money enough to redeem, 
and even converted some of the wild men of the North who threatened 
them. This so offended those who remained pagans, that they de- 



termined to be revenged on him. The opportunity soon came ; Edric, 
an English traitor, gave the Danes secret information how they might 
get within the walls of Canterbury, with little risk to themselves. 

When the Danes began their march against the city, the richer 
people who had means to travel fled from it, and would have per¬ 
suaded Alphage to follow their example; but he refused to go with 
them, “For,” said he, “the shepherd must not abandon his flock 
when the wolves are near.” 

While Alphage was thus nobly standing at his post, and encour¬ 
aging his people, Canterbury was taken. The enemy poured into the 
town, killing all who opposed them and sparing none but the principal 
citizens whom they thought it worth while to hold for ransom. 

The monks tried to keep the archbishop in the church, where 
they hoped he might be safe. But his love for his people made him 
break from them, and run into the midst of the danger. Calling to 
the Danes, he begged that the lives of the inhabitants might be saved, 
and that he alone might be their victim. The barbarians then seized 
him, tied his hands behind his back, insulted and abused him, and 
forced him to look on while his church was burned and his people 
murdered. They then carried the archbishop away with them, and 
marched to attack other places. After a while the Danes grew tired 
of watching over their captive, and proposed to him that he purchase 
his liberty with money. They offered to let him go for a sum equal 
to 15,000; but as Alphage had no way of getting so much money, 
except by taking it from the treasury of the church, he remained in 
the hands of his captors. At last they took him to Greenwich, and 
here he was brought before the Danish chieftain for a final hearing. 

Death of Alphage. 

Fearless of his own fate, Alphage boldly stood before the savage 
band whose swords were still red with the blood of his countiymen, 
and refused to call upon either church or king for money to save his 



own life. Enraged and disappointed, the Danes dragged him about 
their camp, picking up beef bones, with which they bruised and gashed 
him at every step. 

Alphage bore this dreadful treatment patiently, and even prayed 
for the conversion of his cruel tormentors. At last one of the 
Danish soldiers who had been helped, when wounded, by the good 
archbishop, could not bear to see him suffer; and knowing that in 
the end his death was certain, smote him on the head with his battle- 
axe and thus ended his pains. 

Stanislaus, Bishop of Cracow. 

This eminent man came of a noble family of Poland. He was an 
only son and his parents spared no pains in providing him with the 
best teachers, so that his education might be thorough and com¬ 
plete. After pursuing his studies at home for some years he was 
sent to the university of Paris, at that time the most advanced in¬ 
stitution of learning in the world. Stanislaus remained there for sev¬ 
eral years, and then returned to his own country, where, on the death 
of his parents, he fell heir to a large estate. 

Although now possessing high rank and ample fortune, Stanis¬ 
laus adhered to a resolution he had previously formed; he deter¬ 
mined to forego all worldly pursuits and pleasures and to enter the 
priesthood. Accordingly, after some time spent under the instruction 
of Lambert Zula, then bishop of Cracow, he was admitted to holy 
orders. Ten years passed away and found Stanislaus still laboring 
at his post. His learning and piety had so impressed Bishop Lam¬ 
bert, then a very old man, that he selected him as his successor; but 
Stanislaus was reluctant to accept the responsibilities of this high 
office. He was only thirty-six years of age and thought himself 
too young and inexperienced to undertake the cares of a diocese. 
Lambert, however, made him his substitute upon various occasions, 
and at his death, Stanislaus was chosen to fill his place. He there- 



fore accepted the office and devoted himself to the work of the dio¬ 
cese and adv^ancement of the church. 

Now Poland at this time was ruled by a king who had earned the 
title of “ the Cruel,” owing to his many acts of violence. While the peo¬ 
ple groaned under his oppression, none had the courage to appeal to him 
to remedy the abuses under which they were suffering. But Stanislaus 
had the boldness as well as the authority to tell the king of his faults. 
He appeared before him and upbraided him for his tryanny, and de¬ 
manded that injustice and cruelty should cease in Poland. The tyrant 
was angry at this interference of the church, but being awed by the 
imposing dignity of the bishop, he concealed his feelings, and even 
seemed to repent of his deeds; but soon after he again terrified his 
subjects by new and barbarous punishments. As before, Stanislaus 
was the first to protest against these acts of tyranny. He put himself 
at the head of a number of priests, noblemen, and gentlemen, and sol¬ 
emnly charged the king with outrageous cruelty and oppression. 

But the nobility and clergy soon found that the words of the bishop 
had no effect upon the king, and entreated Stanislaus not to further 
rouse the monarch’s ferocious temper; they also tried to soften the 
king’s anger against him. But the tyrant had already determined 
to get rid of a subject who feared him so little as to denounce him 
to his very face. 

Hearing that the bishop was alone in the chapel of St. Michael, at 
a small distance from the town, the king sent some of his soldiers to 
murder him. The men readily undertook the task; but when they 
came into the presence of Stanislaus, the grave dignity and command¬ 
ing appearance of the bishop struck them with such awe, that they 
could not stab him as they had promised. They therefore returned, 
guiltless of his blood; but the king, finding they had not obeyed his 
orders, snatched a dagger from one of them, and ran furiously to the 
chapel; there finding Stanislaus at the altar, he plunged the weapon 

into his heart. 




A. D. 1200. 

The Christian church had, long before this time, ceased to fear 
pagan enemies, for it had won in the struggle which had lasted for 
centuries. The idols were shattered forever throughout Europe, and 
paganism, except in countries to which the gospel had not yet pene¬ 
trated, was a thing of the past. Missionaries willing, nay anxious to 
lay down their lives for the faith, had been sent out by hundreds from 
Rome and had carried her cross-emblazoned standard to far distant 
lands. Germany, Britain, France—countries which at that time 
seemed barbarous compared with the rich, luxurious capital of the 
ancient Roman empire, now had their churches, their monasteries, 
bishops and priests. A revolution had taken place in the minds of 
men, and nearly all the world, within the boundaries of the ancient 
empire, looked to Rome as the earthly citadel of their faith, and to 
the pope as the visible arbiter of Heaven. 

While this high place given to the church and its ceremonies, its 
bishops and priests, strengthened its power enormously over its con¬ 
verts, and gave it for centuries a beneficial hold upon the minds, the 
affections, the fears of mankind, it ended by making tyrants of the men 
—for they were but men—who occupied the papal throne, and who 
held the highest church offices. The power of the pope and those 
appointed by him was too great, too absolute for fallible men to wield 
without becoming worldly, arbitrary, and cruel. No protest, or change 
from church law or ceremony instituted by them was tolerated for an 
instant. Differences in mode of worship or belief practised by people 




who were in the main essentials earnest, believing Christians were put 
down with a merciless hand. ‘‘ Heretics ” they became as soon as 
they dared to uphold their own opinions against the all-conquering 
decrees of Rome, and once adjudged heretics they were considered 
outside the pale of human pity or justice. 

These differing sects began to be of enough importance to be men¬ 
tioned in history about the year 1000. We cannot tell, however, what 
were their exact beliefs and opinions, nor what caused them to break 
off their fellowship with the main body of Christians, as but little reli¬ 
able history on the subject has come down to us. It is probable that 
advancing education and wealth gave these communities leisure and 
ability to see how worldly and luxurious the lives of the clergy had 
become, and how entirely they had taken away from the people them¬ 
selves the control of public affairs. It is certain they began to cry out 
for reform in these matters, and zeal, not always accompanied with dis¬ 
cretion, brought them often in fierce conflict with the papal forces. 
Their history, indeed, is written in blood, for most of these early dif¬ 
fering sects were utterly stamped out and destroyed by butchery and 
exile before 1400. Scattered remnants of the Waldenses have, how¬ 
ever, under the more modern name of Vaudois, survived to even the 
present day in the valleys of Piedmont. 


Account of their Persecution and Great Slaughter. 

These people take their name in history from their leader, Peter 
Waldo, a rich merchant of Lyons, who sold all his goods, gave the 
money to the poor, and went out to preach the gospel in the way 
that he believed it should be taught. 

Waldo soon had many followers, and it is said he made for their 
use a translation of the New Testament into the French language. 
He and his preachers travelled from place to place, exhorting the 

I So 


people to lead better lives, and telling them to turn to the Scriptures 
for knowledge to bring them to salvation, rather than to the priests. 
Word of what was happening soon came to Rome, and the pope 
sent out an order forbidding any person to preach without first re¬ 
ceiving authority from him. Waldo replied with surprising boldness, 
That he would obey God rather than man.” For this he was at 
once excommunicated, or cut off from all communion and fellowship 
with the Roman church. 

Waldo, the leader of the sect, having thus become a “ heretic,” he 
and his people were considered outlaws, whom it was the duty of the 
whole body of the Christian church to destroy. But as their num¬ 
bers continued to increase in spite of the measures that were taken 
to annoy them, the pope determined to make greater efforts to put 
them down. Accordingly he issued a dread assortment of anathemas, 
canons, and decrees, by which the Waldenses were made incapable of 
holding any places of trust, honor, or profit under the government; 
their lands were seized, their goods confiscated, and even the bodies 
of those that died were refused burial in consecrated ground. Some 
of them having crossed the Pyrenees, to find safety in Spain, the pope 
commanded the king of Arragon to refuse them all shelter and to 
kill them wherever found. 

Inquisitors First Appointed. 

It was the preaching of Waldo and his followers that first brought 
about the appointment of inquisitors (questioners or examiners) by the 
Roman church. Finding it difficult to obtain information concerning 
the religious belief of the people in the affected districts, pope Inno¬ 
cent III. made certain monks inquisitors, to find out, and deliver up to 
the magistrates for conviction and sentence, all persons suspected of 
heresy. Several learned and eloquent preachers were also sent from 
Rome to persuade the Waldenses to turn from their belief Among 
these was a priest named Dominic, who instituted an order, called the 


order of Dominican friars; the members of which community have ever 
since been the principal inpiiisitors in every country into which that 
terrible tribunal has been introduced. Their power was unlimited; 
they proceeded against whom they pleased, without any regard for 
age, sex, or rank. However infamous the accusers, the charge was 
listened to, and even unsigned letters were thought sufficient evi¬ 
dence to occasion arrest. The dearest friends or relatives could not, 
without danger, serve any one who was imprisoned on account of 
religion. To cany to those who were confined a little straw, or to 
give them a cup of water, was called favoring the heretics. No 
lawyer dared to plead for even his own brother. 

The vengeance of this merciless brotherhood pursued its victims 
beyond the grave, for the very bones of dead Waldenses were dug 
up and burned. If a man on his death-bed was found to be a fol¬ 
lower of Waldo, his estates were taken and the heir defrauded of his 

The Waldenses of Piedmont. 

For more than two hundred years the Waldenses found a refuge 
and continued to live in the country of Piedmont, on the eastern slope 
of the Alps. The lofty, snow-covered peaks of the mountains looked 
down upon the fertile valleys in which the homes and farms of the 
Waldenses were placed. Owing to the wild and rugged nature of 
their country these poor people were able for a long time to live 

undisturbed; but they were at last informed against, and secret 

plans laid for their destruction. 

A body of troops sent from Rome suddenly appeared in the peace¬ 
ful valley of Piedmont; they burned and plundered the houses of the 
inhabitants, murdered a great many, and drove the others into the 

mountains, where most of them perished from the cold, as it was 

in the depth of winter. Some years later, on the other side of the 
Alpine range, in Dauphine, now a part of France, a persecution was 
begun by the archbishop of Ambrune, who employed a monk, named 

i 82 


John Veyleti, to lead the attack. This man went to work so savagely 
that not only many of the Waldenses, but others as well, were slain; 
for if any man, no matter what his belief, expressed pity for the in¬ 
offensive people who were being so cruelly treated, he was accused 
of favoring the heretics, and made to suffer with them. 

Waldenses Smothered in a Cave. 

The pope determined at last to take such measures as would crush 
the Waldenses, and put an end forever to the hated sect which defied 
the authority of the Roman church. Accordingly he sent Albert de 
Capitaneis, archdeacon of Cremona, to France; who interested the 
king’s lieutenant, and succeeded in raising a large body of troops for 
the purpose of driving the Waldenses out of their valleys. But when 
the soldiers arrived they found the houses empty and the place de¬ 
serted, for the people had heard of their coming and had fled to the 
mountains, hiding themselves among the rocks and caves. 

The archdeacon and lieutenant followed them, however, with the 
troops, and taking many prisoners, they dashed them headlong from 
the precipices. A good many escaped for a time from the hands of 
the soldiers, and hid in the darkest recesses of rocky caves, for as 
they knew the secret passage-ways they were able to conceal them¬ 
selves. The archdeacon and lieutenant being, therefore, unable to 
seize them, they ordered firewood heaped up at the mouths of the 
caves. When all was ready the piles were lighted, and the people 
inside were all smothered to death by the smoke and heat. Upon 
searching the caves after the fires had gone out, more than looo 
dead bodies were found, many being those of women and children. 
Altogether 3000 persons were slain during this attack. 

After this cruel work, the lieutenant and archdeacon went with 
the troops to other places in order to attack the Waldenses. But 
these having heard of the fate of their brethren in the valley, armed 
themselves; and by fortifying the different passes, and bravely dis- 




puting the advance of the soldiers, they inflicted such injuries upon 
them that the lieutenant was compelled to go back without accom¬ 
plishing anything. 

Waldenses Protected by the King of France. 

Two soldiers of fortune, named Anthony Fabri and Christopher de 
Salience, having obtained permission from the pope to plunder the 
Waldenses, attacked them with a large number of soldiers. They 
put many of the poor people to death, robbed others of all they pos¬ 
sessed, and left hundreds starving and destitute. 

The king of France had not consented to this, and to him the Wal¬ 
denses appealed for justice. In spite of his respect for the pope, the 
king could not permit his loyal subjects to be slaughtered without 
any apparent cause. He soon made inquiries, and after hearing the 
testimony of many witnesses, was satisfied that the people who had 
been so cruelly persecuted were innocent of any crime. Indeed, the 
officer he sent to examine into the matter, declared that he wished 
he himself was as good a Christian as the worst of them. 

When this favorable report was made to the king, he immediately 
gave orders that the Waldenses should have their property restored to 
them. Now, as the archbishop of Ambrune had in his own posses¬ 
sion the greater part of the plunder, it was generally supposed he 
would be the first to return it; but he would do nothing of the sort. 
He excused himself by saying the houses and lands had become a 
part of his bishopric. He, however, with a pretence of generosity, 
offered to give back some vineyards, provided the soldiers would 
also return all they had taken. This of course the soldiers refused 
to do, being as anxious to keep their plunder as the archbishop 

The Waldenses, finding that they were not likely to recover any of 
their property, appealed to the king again, and he wrote to the arch¬ 
bishop. But that artful and avaricious prelate replied, “ That at the 


cominencenient of the persecution the Waldenses had been excom¬ 
municated, so their goods were all forfeited; therefore, until the sen¬ 
tence of excommunication was taken off, they could not be restored.” 
This plea was allowed to be reasonable, and application was made to 
the pope to remove the sentence of excommunication; but the arch¬ 
bishop knowing this would be done, prevented the application from 
succeeding, and so kept all he had taken. 

Continued Persecution of the Waldenses. 

Many of the Waldenses went to live in the northern part of Italy. 
Before they came to that country it was barren and desolate, but their 
industry soon caused it to blossom forth into gardens and vineyards. 
But they were not permitted long to remain undisturbed; word was 
carried to Rome of their having settled in this place, and the pope at 
once commanded that unless they changed their religion they should 
all be put to death. Accordingly a considerable body of soldiers was 
soon gathered together; for in that age there were a great number of 
professional fighting men who were always ready to take part in any 
enterprise which afforded them an opportunity to rob and kill defence¬ 
less people. Among many other acts of violence the following took 
place, which well shows the merciless character of the persecution 
which followed. 

A band of soldiers was sent to take one of the towns, and began 
to batter down the frail defences. As there were but sixty poor peas¬ 
ants to defend the place, they quickly sent word to the attacking party 
that they would surrender if allowed to depart in safety with their 
families to another country. This was promised them; but the gates 
were no sooner opened than the captain ordered all the peasants to 
be cut to pieces; and after this, most of the women and children were 
confined in a large barn, which was set on fire, and all perished in the 
flames. Some of them having taken refuge in a church, the captain or¬ 
dered his men to go in and kill them all. This they at first declined 



to do, saying, “ Soldiers do not kill women and children/’ But the 
captain, enraged at their refusal, called them mutineers and compelled 
them to do the cruel deed under threats of punishment. 


Their Rise and First Persecution. 

The Albigenses were people who lived in southern France, near 
the ancient city of Albiga, or, as it is now called, Alby. They begin 
to be mentioned in history about the year lioo, and one hundred 
years later had become very numerous. Like the Waldenses, they 
had changed their form of religious worship from that of the church 
of Rome, but they differed also from the Waldenses, who were a 
separate and distinct sect. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to 
discover the exact creed of the Albigenses and others of these early 
sects, as they have left no written records telling of their doctrine or 
belief It is supposed they held opinions which bore some resemblance 
to those of Protestants of a later day, inasmuch as they seem to have 
refused to acknowledge the authority of Roman priests to stand be¬ 
tween them and their God. This was the main point in most of the 
disputes between the so-called heretical sects and the church of 
Rome. A refusal to acknowledge the priest to be more than 
human, to doubt his power to absolve sins, and to intervene between 
man and God at the altar and the confessional, was to strike at the 
very foundation of the belief which Enabled the Roman church to 
maintain its tremendous influence over the hearts of men. Any 
doubt existing upon this point attacked directly the vital principle 
upon which the vast fabric of the Roman church was raised. All 
the resources of Rome were therefore exerted to crush the people 
who dared to deny her supreme powers. A knowledge of this fact 
is needed to make plain the reason why the church put forth such 
efforts to destroy seemingly insignificant adversaries. 



An Akmv Sent Against the Aluigenses. 

Messengers were accordingly sent throughout the whole of Europe 
by pope Innocent III. to raise a force of soldiers large enough to ut¬ 
terly destroy the Albigenses, for they had increased greatly in num¬ 
bers and in wealth. Several powerful nobles had also given them 
their support, among whom were Raymond, count of Toulouse, the 
count of Foix, and the count of Bezieres. 

Promises of pardon for sins of the past, and indulgences to com¬ 
mit others in the future were freely offered by the pope, as bribes, to 
influential men who would take part in the so-called holy war. The 
pope likewise directed archbishops, bishops and priests to solemnly 
excommunicate the count of Toulouse. They were, also, empowered 
to free all his subjects from their oaths of allegiance to him, and to 
command them to pursue his person, possess his lands, destroy his 
property, and murder such of his subjects as continued faithful to 
him. Soon a formidable army, with nobles and bishops at its head, 
began to march against the Albigenses. 

The count of Toulouse, having no army able to meet such a force, 
with any hope of victory, immediately came to surrender himself, with 
a courage inspired by innocence; he supposed that the troops would 
be recalled from plundering his innocent subjects, as he thought him¬ 
self a sufficient pledge for their good behavior. The pope’s legate, or 
deputy, told the count that he was very glad he had surrendered; but 
he would not countermand the orders to the troops unless the count 
would consent to deliver up seven of his best fortified castles as securi¬ 
ties for his future behavior. 

On hearing this outrageous demand the count saw too late his 
error in surrendering, but he w^as now a helpless prisoner, and could 
only send an order to give up the castles. The pope’s legate had no 
sooner put soldiers in these places, than he ordered the former gov¬ 
ernors to appear before him. When they came, he told them that 
the count of Toulouse had delivered up his castles to the pope, and as 


they were now the pope’s subjects, they must obey him only. The 
governors were greatly astonished to see their lord in chains, and 
themselves forced to act in a manner so contrary to their wishes. 
The cruel treatment the count had received afflicted them still more 
for he was stripped nearly naked, and severely scourged before all the 
people. Not contented with this, the legate obliged him to swear 
that he would be obedient to the pope during the rest of his life, 
conform to the church of Rome, and make war against the Albi- 
genses; and even ordered him to join the troops, and help in the 
siege of Bezieres. But thinking this too hard a trial of his newly 
pledged faith, the count managed to escape, and went to Rome 
to complain to the pope of the ill-usage he had received. 

Dreadful Cruelties at the Taking of Bezieres. 

The army now besieged Bezieres; and the governor of that city, 
thinking it impossible to defend the place, came out, and presenting 
himself before the legate, implored mercy for the inhabitants. As an 
additional reason, he said that there were almost as many Romans as 
Albigenses in the city. The legate replied that all excuses were use¬ 
less ; the place must be delivered up without terms, or assault would 
at once be made. 

The governor returned into the city and told the people that he 
could obtain no mercy unless the Albigenses would give up their 
religion, and conform to the worship of the church of Rome. He 
begged the Albigenses to do this; but they answered with one accord 
that they would not forsake their religion. Said they, Better to dis¬ 
please the pope, who can but kill our bodies, than God, who can cast 
both body and soul into hell.” 

Upon this the church party sent their bishop to the legate, be¬ 
seeching him not to include them in the slaughter of the Albigenses. 
They also argued that the best means to win these over to the faith 
was by gentleness, and not by cruelty. The legate, upon hearing this. 




flew into a violent passion with the bishop, and declared that, “ If all 
the city did not acknowledge their fault, they should fall under one 
curse without distinction of religion, sex, or age/’ 

The inhabitants refusing to yield upon such terms, a fierce attack 
was made, and the place taken by storm, when every cruelty that a 
ruffian soldiery could invent was inflicted upon the unfortunate in¬ 
habitants. Then were to be heard the groans of men who lay wel¬ 
tering in their blood, and the wailing of wounded mothers, who saw 
their children taken from them and mangled before their eyes. The 
city being fired in various parts, new scenes of horror arose. The 
flames drove the wretched inhabitants into the streets, which streamed 
with blood, and those who hid themselves in their houses had only 
the dreadful choice left them, either to remain and perish in the fire, 
or rush out and fall by the swords of the soldiers. 

The cruel legate, during this horrible scene, enjoyed the carnage 
and even called out to the troops to encourage them in their dreadful 
work. When asked by an officer how he should distinguish the in¬ 
nocent from the guilty, he made the infamous reply, since celebrated 
in history, “ Kill all; God will know his own.” And this they did, 
for when the slaughter was done, more than 30,000 corpses lay among 
the ruins of the once beautiful city of Bezieres. 

Escape and Brave Resistance of the Governor of Bezieres. 

The count of Bezieres, and a few others, made their escape, and 
went to a strongly fortified place, Carcasson, which they put into the 
best condition for defence. The legate at once led his forces against 
them, thinking that he would have an easy victory and would repeat 
the cruelties of Bezieres. As soon as the city was surrounded, a furi¬ 
ous attack was made, but the besiegers were driven back with great 
slaughter. The count of Bezieres fought with the foremost of the de¬ 
fenders, calling to his soldiers that it was “ better to die fighting, than 
to fall into the hands of such bloody enemies.” 


Two miles from the city of Carcasson there was a small town of 
the same name, which the Albigenses had likewise fortified. The 
legate, being enraged at the defeat he had met with at the city 
of Carcasson, determined to wreak his vengeance upon the town. 
So the next morning he made a fierce attack upon it; and though 
the place was bravely defended, he took it by storm, put all the 
people to the sword, and then set fire to the houses. 

After this battle, the king of Arragon arrived at the camp, and 
when he had paid his respects to the legate, he told him that he 
understood the count of Bezieres, his relative, was in the city of 
Carcasson. He said if the legate would grant him permission, he 
would go and try to convince him of the duty he owed to the 
pope and to the church. The legate agreed to this, so the king 
went to the count and asked him why he was so foolish as to shut 
himself up in that city against so great an army. The count an¬ 
swered, that it was to defend his life, goods, and subjects; for he 
plainly saw the pope had resolved to put to death the count of 
Toulouse and himself. He said that he had resolved, therefore, to 
fight as long as life lasted, rather than yield himself or his innocent 
subjects to such a bloodthirsty band of murderers. 

Base Treachery of the Legate. 

The king came back and repeated to the legate the count’s words. 
The legate, after considering for a while, said, “ For your sake, sir, I 
will grant the count of Bezieres mercy, and with him twelve others 
shall be given their lives; but as for the rest, I shall treat them as 
their offence deserves.” 

These hard terms angered the count and he refused to listen to 
them, so the legate commenced another assault, but his troops were 
again driven back with great slaughter. The dead bodies of the 
slain lay under the walls of the city until a pestilence was feared 
from them. The legate, vexed and alarmed at this second repulse. 



determined to treacherously seize the count. He therefore sent a mes¬ 
senger, well skilled in deception, to the count of Bezieres, with a seem¬ 
ingly friendly message. The plan was to tempt the count to leave 
the city under promise of an interview with the legate; and to do this 
the messenger was empowered to say whatever he thought would 
gain his end, for,” said the legate, “ swear to what falsehoods you 
will in such a cause, I will give you absolution and forgiveness.” 

This plot succeeded: for the count, believing the guarantee given 
him of personal safety, and the solemn promises of the crafty mes¬ 
senger, left the city and went with him. The legate no sooner saw 
him, than he told him he was a prisoner, and must remain such until 
Carcasson was surrendered, and the inhabitants taught their duty 
to the pope. The count, upon hearing this, cried out that he was 
betrayed, and bitterly reproached the legate for his treachery. But 
he was dragged away by the guards, and the city summoned to 
open its gates. 

The people, on hearing of the capture of the count, were thrown 
into the utmost confusion. All despaired of escape; some called out 
to open the gates, while others said it was better to die in battle than 
to surrender. Just at this moment when all seemed lost, a veiy old 
man came forward and said he remembered there had once been made 
a secret, underground passage-way which led from the city to the 
strong castle of Camaret, only a short distance away. If, said the 
old man, we can find this secret passage, we may all escape by it 
before the legate suspects our flight. 

News of this unlooked-for means of escape was heard with joy 
by the despairing people, and all who were able began to search for 
the opening of the tunnel. At last it was found near the southern 
wall of the city, and in the evening, men, women, and children began 
their flight along the dark pathway which led to safety. They took 
with them sufficient food to last a few days, and all succeeded in escap¬ 
ing from the town and reached the castle safely. Finding the place 



unguarded they then scattered and found their way to the mountains, 
where they were safe from their enemies. 

Next morning, the troops were put in motion to make a last as¬ 
sault upon the city, encouraged by the thought that their treacherous 
seizure of the count would deprive the citizens of his bold leadership. 
As they drew near the walls the soldiers were astonished that no noise 
was to be heard, nor a man to be seen in any part of the defences. 
Yet they approached with caution, lest this should be but a ruse to 
lead them on. The nearer they came to the city, however, the more 
silent it seemed. 

At last the soldiers began to scale the wall, and the first to reach 
the top looked down with surprise upon the deserted city, and called 
out that the Albigenses were fled and the place was theirs. The sol¬ 
diers immediately took possession of the abandoned town and carried 
away every article of value that they could find; soon after, the un¬ 
fortunate count of Bezieres was locked up in a dungeon, under the 
city wall, where he presently died. 

The Pope’s Legate appoints Simon of Montfort, General. 

The legate now called the bishops, nobles, and captains together 
and told them that, while it was proper for a legate to accompany 
the army, as the pope’s representative, the actual leadership should be 
in the hands of a brave and experienced general, who knew the art 
of war and could lead his soldiers to victory. Accordingly, Simon 
of Montfort, a noble of high rank, and a veiy wicked and cruel man, 
was chosen general of the pope’s army. He began by ordering a 
part of his force to remain as a guard in the captured city of Car- 
casson, while the rest marched eastward to take another city, Mont¬ 
pelier. But not succeeding in taking that place, on account of the 
desperate resistance of the Albigenses, who well knew that no 
mercy was to be expected from the savage count Simon, he grew 
impatient and wrote to every prince in Europe to send him help, 



and said that unless more men were given him he would be unable 
to make headway against the Albigenses. 

Simon soon received some reinforcements, with which he attacked 
the castle of Beron, and making himself master of it, ordered the 
eyes put out, and the nose cut off, of every man in the place, one 
soldier alone excepted,—who was blinded of one eye only, so that 
he might lead the rest outside the walls, where they were left to 
wander where they would, and many of them perished. Simon then 
undertook the siege of the castle of Menerbe, which, on account of 
the want of water, was obliged to yield to him. The governor was 
put in prison, where he died; and his wife, sister, daughter, and more 
than one hundred other persons, were burned alive. Many other 
castles surrendered to this monster, and the garrisons were butchered 
in ways equally barbarous. 

Raymond, Count of Toulouse. 

The pope’s legate having excommunicated the count of Toulouse 
for having helped the \\"aldenses, thus caused him to become his bitter 
enemy. Excommunication was a terrible weapon in those days, when 
used by a church which ruled civil as well as religious life. In an 
instant the church could deprive any man, against whom its awful 
curse was pronounced, of the means of worship, of marriage, of bap¬ 
tism—in fact, of every religious rite and privilege during life, and even 
of Christian burial after death. 

To impress the count with the gravity of his offence, and to ac¬ 
quaint him with the feelings of the clergy, the bishop of Toulouse, 
in obedience to the legate’s secret orders, with all the priests of the 
cathedral church, marched out of the city in solemn procession, bare¬ 
footed and bareheaded, taking with them the cross, banner, and host. 
They went in that manner to the legate’s army, where they were 
received with great respect as persecuted saints. The legate next 
attempted, by a stratagem, to get the count of Toulouse in his power. 



but failing in this he waited until joined by the army of count Simon 
of Montfort, and then laid siege to Toulouse. 

Bravery of the Albigenses in the City of Toulouse. 

In spite of the strong force arrayed against him, and the ferocious 
cruelty of its leaders, the count of Toulouse tried to break the siege 
by fierce attacks from the gates. In the first attempt he met with a 
severe repulse; but in the second he took Simon’s son prisoner, and 
in the third, unhorsed Simon himself. At last, after several furious 
assaults by the besiegers and some successful sallies of the Albigenses, 
the count of Toulouse compelled his enemies to raise the siege. In 
their retreat, they did much mischief to the countries through which 
they passed, and put many defenceless Albigenses to death. 

The count of Toulouse now did all he could to get help from the 
king of Arragon. This neighboring ruler was easily persuaded to 
form a league with the principal Albigenses, and to put himself at 
the head of their united forces, consisting of his own people, and of 
the troops of the counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Comminges. The 
army of Rome was greatly alarmed at this reinforcement of its 
enemies. Simon sent to all parts of Europe to get more soldiers, 
and the pope’s legate began hostilities by entering the territory of 
the count of Foix, and committing the most cruel outrages. 

As soon as the army of Albigenses was ready, the king of Arra¬ 
gon began by laying siege to Murat, a strongly fortified town near 
Toulouse. The pitiless Simon,' by forced marches, came up with 
them in the evening, while the king of Arragon, who kept very 
little discipline in his army, was at supper. Waiting, undiscovered, 
until night had fallen and the feasting king was making merry with 
his officers, Simon threw his whole force upon them. Surprised and 
terror-stricken, the Albigenses made scarcely any defence. The king 
of Arragon was killed and his army routed. This victory made the 
commanders of the papal army declare that they would soon wipe out 


the whole race of Albigenses, and Simon sent an insolent message 
to the counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Comminges, to deliver up to 
him all their castles and fortresses; but instead of answering this 
haughty demand, the counts shut themselves up in their castles and 
put them in readiness for defence. 

Surrender of the City of Toulouse. 

Not caring to attack the counts at this time, Simon marched to¬ 
ward the city of Toulouse. The count of Toulouse had gone to 
Montalban, and sent word to the citizens to make the best terms 
they could with the papal army, as he was sure they could not re¬ 
sist a siege; but he asked them to preserve their hearts for him, 
though they surrendered their town to another. 

The citizens of Toulouse, upon receiving this advice, sent mes¬ 
sengers to Simon, with offers of immediate surrender, provided the 
city itself, and the persons and property of its inhabitants, should 
not be injured. These conditions were agreed to, and Simon, in order 
to keep himself in favor at court, wrote a letter to prince Louis, the 
son of Philip, king of France telling him that the city of Toulouse 
had offered to surrender to him; but Simon, preferring that the prince 
should have the honor of receiving the keys, begged that he would 
come to the camp for that purpose. The prince, pleased with the 
consideration shown him, went directly to the army, and the city of 
Toulouse was surrendered to him in due form. 

The pope’s legate, however, was far from being satisfied with the 
merciful terms granted the people, and insisted, that though the 
prince might become the ruler of the place, the plunder belonged to 
the “ holy pilgrims ” (for so the papal soldiers employed in these ex¬ 
peditions were called), and that the town, as a nest of heretics, ought 
to be destroyed. The prince in vain begged to uphold the conditions 
granted at the surrender; but the legate stood firm, and earl Simon 
and the prince, unwilling to quarrel with him, gave up the point. 



Then the legate immediately set his “ holy pilgrims ” to work, and 
they soon dismantled the city, robbed the inhabitants of. everything 
they possessed, and killed a great many. 

Dispute Between the Legate and the Prince. 

Now the legate found that among the Albigenses were many who 
had held salaried offices under the government. As these places 
would fall to the prince, the legate determined to deprive him of 
them. To this end he gave absolution to the Albigenses, which, 
though they had not in the least changed their religious opinions, 
he called reconciling them to the church. The prince, not knowing 
of this stratagem, was about to appoint his officers to these places 
as a reward for their services; when, to his great astonishment, the 
legate informed him that he had no power to dispose of i:hem. The 
prince asked an explanation of his meaning. '' My meaning,” replied 
the legate, “ is, that the people have received absolution and forgive¬ 
ness, and being reconciled to the church, all places held by them 
are under the control of the church alone.” 

The prince, much offended at this, and highly displeased at the 
meanness of the trick, nevertheless thought it better to hide his anger. 
But he determined forthwith to abandon the legate, and so took all 
the troops under his command, and marched to attack some other 
fortresses. But he found, wherever he went, that the legate had 
played the same trick, and plainly perceived, if he continued his 
military operations, that when unsuccessful, he would bear all the 
blame, and when successful, the legate would take all the profit; so 
he left the army in disgust, and returned home. 

Retreat of Count Simon. 

Simon of Montfort, with his own army, now undertook the siege 
of the castle of Foix, which stood some miles south of Toulouse. 
He lay before the place for ten days, during which time he frequently 



assaulted it, but was as often driven back. Hearing that an army 
from Arragon, Spain, had crossed the mountains and was in full 
march against him, he raised the siege, and went to meet them. The 
count of Foix immediately sallied out and attacked his rear, and with 
the help of the army of Arragon in front, gave Simon a total defeat 
which compelled him to shut himself up in the city of Carcasson. 

Soon afterward, the pope’s legate called a council at Montpelier, 
for renewing the war against the Albigenses, and for showing proper 
honor to count Simon. The count was able to be present upon this 
occasion; for the Albigenses, not taking advantage of their victory, had 
neglected to watch Carcasson, and had let Simon escape to Montpelier. 

When opening the council, the legate, in the pope’s name, paid many 
compliments to Simon, and declared that he should be prince of all 
the countries that might in future be taken from the Albigenses. He 
also, by order of the pope, called him the active and dexterous sol¬ 
dier of Christ, and the invincible defender of the faith.” But just as 
the count was about to return thanks for these great honors and fine 
speeches, a messenger brought word that the people, having heard 
count Simon was in the council, had taken up arms, and were coming 
to kill him as a common disturber of the peace. This news threw 
the whole council into great confusion; and count Simon, though he 
had been so recently entitled an invincible defender of the faith, leaped 
from a window, and stole away from the city. 

A Church Council is Held. 

The many disputes arising between the leaders appointed by the 
church, and the people, caused the pope to call a council. It had 
long been the custom, whenever there were any questions to be settled 
of great importance to the church, to call together the archbishops, 
bishops, and priests to hold a council at the palace of the pope. 

The popes had for many years lived in a certain splendid building 
at Rome, called the palace of the Lateran, after Plantius Lateranus, a 



rich citizen of Rome who had once owned the land upon which the 
building stood. The council now called by pope Innocent III. was 
the fourth that had been held in this palace, and was in some respects 
the most important of any that had ever met there. Seventy-one 
archbishops, 412 bishops, 800 abbots, besides ambassadors from all 
the Christian kings and emperors of the world, were present. A pro¬ 
fession, or plain statement of the principles of the Roman Catholic 
faith, was presented by the pope, and accepted by all the assembled 
councillors. In this profession of faith the word transubstantiation 
is said to have been first used by Roman prelates in connection with 
that miraculous change into actual flesh and blood which they believed 
themselves empowered to effect in the bread and wine of the eucharist. 
At this council, also, bitter condemnation was pronounced against all 
persons who might persist in holding a contrary belief to this, which 
was solemnly established as the only true faith. Such offenders were, 
henceforth, to be shown no mercy; they were to be treated as heretics, 
and after trial by the church were to be delivered over to the civil 
authorities for punishment. Not only heretic^ themselves, but all 
who aided heretics in any way were to be excommunicated; and upon 
all kings, emperors, or rulers who did not put forth their utmost en¬ 
deavors to drive heresy from their dominions the same penalty was 

The measures which had been taken to put down the Albigenses 
were also approved, and count Simon was given full authority to raise 
another army and carry on the war. 

Simon Continues the War. 

Simon therefore went to the king of France, received his commis¬ 
sion, and began to enlist soldiers. Just as he had collected a good force 
together and was about to assail the unfortunate Albigenses, a mes¬ 
senger brought him news that his wife and household were besieged 
in the city of Narbonne by the count of Toulouse, and in great dan- 



ger of being taken. He at once marched to the relief of his wife and 
with some difficulty rescued her. This delay enabled the Albigenses 
to recover themselves somewhat, and to retake Toulouse. Simon 
soon made a desperate assault upon the city but was driven back 
with great slaughter. 

After this defeat, Simon was much cast down, and it is said that 
the pope’s legate, in order to encourage him to make another attack, 
then spoke as follows: '' Fear nothing, my lord! make another at¬ 
tempt; let us not fail to take the city, and destroy these heretics. 
Those of our men who are slain in the fight, I assure you shall im¬ 
mediately pass into paradise.” 

One of the count’s principal officers, on hearing this said with a 
sneer, '' Monsieur cardinal, you talk with great assurance; but if the 
count believes you, he will, as before, suffer for his confidence.” But 
Simon took the legate’s advice, made another assault, and was again 
driven back with greater loss than before. 

To complete his misfortunes, before the besiegers could recover 
from their confusion, the count of Foix appeared at the head of a 
formidable body of troops, and attacking Simon’s already dispirited 
soldiers, easily put them to rout. The count himself narrowly es¬ 
caped drowning in the river Garonne, into which he hastily plunged 
to avoid being captured. 

Death of Count Simon of Montfort. 

This last disaster almost broke the count’s spirit; but the pope’s 
legate continued to encourage him, and offered to raise another army, 
which with some difficulty, and three years’ delay, he finally did, and 
the count was once more able to take the field. On this occasion he 
turned his whole force against Toulouse, which he besieged for the 
space of nine months. In one of the sorties made by the Albigenses, 
count Simon’s horse was wounded. The animal being in great pain 
ran away with him, and carried him directly under the battlement walls, 




which were swarming with his foes. A crossbowman, taking advan¬ 
tage of this unlooked-for opportunity, shot a bolt into his thigh. 

But it was, after all, by the hand of a woman, that the Albigenses, 
like the Israelites of old, were delivered from their great enemy; for 
the wife of one of the soldiers, seeing Simon beneath her, seized a 
heavy stone and dropped it upon the head of the already wounded 
count, striking him from his horse and leaving him dead upon the 

Failure of Attempts to Take Toulouse. 

The death of count Simon so discouraged the soldiers that they 
gave up the siege and went home. But the legate, determined not 
to be disappointed of his prey, interested the king of France in the 
cause, who sent his son to attack Toulouse. The French prince, 
with some chosen troops, made a furious assault; but the brave de¬ 
fenders who had succeeded before in beating off the fierce count 
Simon, won another victory, and the besiegers were driven back 
with great loss. The French, therefore, gave up the attempt to take 
Toulouse, and went to attack the city of Mirimande, near by. This 
place they soon took by storm, and put to the sword all the inhab¬ 
itants. About 5000 men, women, and children were slain during 
this merciless butchery. 

The pope’s legate, whose name was Bertrand, having grown old, 
became weary of following the wars, so he wrote a letter to the pope, 
in which he begged to be recalled on account of age and infirmities; 
but entreated the pontiff to appoint a successor, who would carry on 
the war, as he had done, with spirit and perseverance. The pope, 
therefore, recalled Bertrand, and appointed Conrad to be legate in 
his place. 

The King of France Takes the Field. 

The new legate persuaded the king of France to undertake the siege 
of the city of Toulouse in person, in order to make obedient to the 



church those obstinate heretics, as he called the brave Albigenses. 
The count of Toulouse, hearing of the great preparations being made 
by the king of France, sent the women and children into secret and 
secure places in the mountains, destroyed the crops upon all the 
neighboring farms, and drove away the cattle, so that the king’s 
forces should not obtain any food. 

Owing to these wise precautions the French army, soon after it 
came there, suffered all the extremities of famine. The soldiers were 
compelled to feed on the carcasses of horses and dogs, which un¬ 
wholesome food caused a sickness to rage among them from wTich 
many died. The French king himself fell ill and died before the 
siege was ended, and his son, who carried on the war, was defeated 
in two engagements before the walls. 

But in spite of these brief successes, the siege went steadily on. 
The count of Toulouse was taken prisoner during a battle outside 
the walls, and the city having lost its brave defender, was compelled 
at last to yield, when a pitiless massacre of the unfortunate people 
took place. They were hunted through the streets by the brutal 
soldiers, and no mercy was shown to man, woman, or child. Thou¬ 
sands fell before the swords and spears of these bloodthirsty foes, 
who revenged themselves for the hardships of the siege by every 
kind of outrage and cruelty. 


It has already been told how some of those people called Waldenses 
left their native country, France, and went to live in the northern part 
of Italy, where they were attacked by soldiers sent from Rome, and 
many of them killed. There were some, however, who escaped to the 
mountains, and in later years their descendants had become quite nu¬ 
merous. They were industrious tillers of the soil, and were prosperous 
and content. But unfortunately for them, the watchful eye of the 
archbishop of Turin was at length directed toward their retreat. 



and soon a force of soldiers was sent into the peaceful valleys, which 
committed many outrages and killed a great number. 

At last, made desperate by the cruelty of the troops, the Wab 
denses turned upon them and fought several bloody battles, in which 
their knowledge of the steep and rocky mountain passes gave them 
the advantage. 

As these disturbances kept the countr}^ in constant turmoil, and 
were the cause of great loss to all the inhabitants, the duke of Savoy, 
who was lord of Piedmont, determined to use his authority to restore 
peace. But, not liking to offend the pope, or the archbishop of Turin, 
he first sent to them a carefully worded protest against having his 
dominions overrun with troops, who were commanded by priests in¬ 
stead of generals, and who killed and plundered his subjects without 
even asking his leave. 

The archbishop replied, that enemies of the church were the com¬ 
mon foes of all Christian princes, and should be destroyed wherever 
found. The duke replied to this by saying plainly, that, although not 
familiar with the religious faith of the persecuted people, he had found 
them quiet, industrious, and obedient, and therefore would not permit 
them any longer to be hunted down like dangerous wild beasts. All 
sorts of accusations were then made against the Waldenses by the 
archbishop; so in order to learn the real truth of the matter, the 
duke sent twelve of his officers into the valleys, to find out what 
was the character of the people who lived there. 

After travelling through their towns and villages, and talking with 
the Waldenses, the twelve examiners returned to the duke, and gave 
him a most favorable account of them. They reported that the peo¬ 
ple appeared to be inoffensive, industrious, and pious. As for their 
children, about whom the most ridiculous stories had been told, they 
said they had found they were neither born with black throats, nor 
hair on their bodies, but were as fine children as ever were seen. 
“ And to convince your highness,” said they, “ we have brought 



with US twelve of their chief men who have come to ask pardon in 
the name of the rest, for having taken up arms without your leave, 
and also several of their women and children, so that your high¬ 
ness may judge for yourself.” The duke of Savoy therefore talked 
with these people, examined their children, and satisfied himself that 
the report of the commissioners was true. He then commanded the 
prelates who had attempted to deceive him, to depart from his court; 
and gave strict orders, that the persecution should cease through¬ 
out his dominions. 

Therefore, during the rest of this just ruler’s reign, the Wal- 
denses enjoyed peace; but after his death the happy scene was 
changed, and bloody persecution again raged in the land. 

Continued Persecution of the Waldenses. 

Emboldened by their fancied security the Waldenses had long 
ceased to meet in secret places for worship; they assembled openly 
in their churches. Hearing this, the new duke sent troops into the 
valleys, and declared that if the people would not change their 
faith, he would have them driven from the country. But the soldiers 
soon found the Waldenses too numerous to be safely attacked by the 
force brought against them, so they returned without accomplishing 
anything. There was, therefore, peace in the valleys for a few years 

At length, Paul III. becoming pope, he gave orders to the council 
at Turin to send messengers to the Waldenses to offer them the fol¬ 
lowing hard terms, as the price of continued peace: That they must 
return to the church of Rome; and that to prove their obedience, 
they must send twelve of their principal men, with all their ministers 
and schoolmasters, to Turin, to be dealt with as the council saw fit. 
It was threatened that if they rejected these propositions, persecu¬ 
tion and death should be their penalty. 

In answer to these demands the Waldenses made the following bold 



reply: That no power could force them to renounce their religion. 
That they would never consent to put their best friends into the 
hands of their worst enemies. That they valued the approbation 
of the King who reigns in heaven more than any earthly king; for 
they considered their souls far more precious than their bodies. 

This defiant reply so enraged the council that they seized all the 
Waldenses who ventured out from their mountain hiding-places, and 
put them to death in the most cruel ways. Soon after, the king of 
France was asked to send troops to assist in driving the Waldenses 
from their strongholds, but just as the army was about to march, 
the princes of Germany interfered, and threatened to send soldiers to 
help the Waldenses. Upon this, the king of France, not wishing to 
go to war with so great a nation, ordered back his troops. This 
greatly disappointed the council, but for want of a sufficient force of 
soldiers the persecution gradually ceased. They still continued to 
put to death such Waldenses as they caught by chance, but owing 
to their caution, very few were thus taken. 

After a few years’ peace, the Waldenses were again disturbed; the 
pope’s legate, coming to Turin, told the duke he was astonished that 
he had not yet. rooted out the unbelievers from his dominions, or 
compelled them to return to the church of Rome, He said that such 
conduct awakened suspicion that the duke was, himself, a favorer 
of those heretics, and he would accordingly report him to the pope. 
Stung by this accusation, and fearful of getting the ill-will of the pope, 
the duke determined to make a show of energy; so, entering Piedmont 
with several regiments of soldiers, he began to hang, drown, and burn 
all the Waldenses who came in his way. Those who fled had their 
goods plundered and their houses burned. When they caught a 
minister or a schoolmaster, they put him to such dreadful tortures 
as made the less hardened among them turn away in horror. 

Some of the worst of these ruffians having seized a minister, as 
he was going to preach, started to take him to their camp to burn 



him. Ilis people hearing- of this, armed themselves, pursued and 
attacked the captors; who finding they could not hold their pris¬ 
oner, stabbed the poor man, and left him weltering in his blood. 
His rescuers did all they could to save his life, but in vain; for he 
died as they were carrying him home. 

Brave Defence of the Men of Rosa. 

Many of the towns and villages of the Waldenses had been de¬ 
stroyed, and their inhabitants killed or driven away; but the village 
of Rosa had until now escaped, as it was built high up on a steep and 
rocky mountain. One day the duke of Savoy, hearing that some of 
the people he had driven from their homes had found refuge at Rosa, 
determined to destroy the place, so that it could no longer shelter any 
fugitives. He therefore sent an officer and three hundred men, to take 
it by surprise. 

But the men of Rosa, hearing of the intended attack, appointed 
one of their number, Joshua Gianavel, an experienced soldier, cap¬ 
tain, and made ready to resist the force that had been sent against 
them. Now, the town could only be approached by a single nar¬ 
row mountain path, therefore Gianavel and his men hid themselves 
near this path, and as soon as the enemy appeared, suddenly started 
up from behind the rocks and bushes, and made so fierce an at¬ 
tack that the soldiers, panic-stricken, turned and fled, leaving many 
of their number dead upon the ground. 

The men of Rosa, after this victory, sent a letter to the marquis 
of Pianessa, a general officer of the duke, saying, they were sorry to 
take up arms, but the secret approach of a body of troops, had greatly 
offended them; and as it was their custom never to suffer any armed 
force to enter their little town, they had repelled force by force, and 
should do so again; but in all other respects they professed them¬ 
selves dutiful, obedient, and Igyal subjects to their sovereign prince, 
the duke of Savoy.” 



The marquis, in order to continue the deception, and intending to 
make another attack, answered, ‘‘ That he was perfectly satisfied with 
their behavior, for they had done right, and had even rendered a ser¬ 
vice to their country, as the men who had attempted to enter the town 
could not have been his troops, but a band of desperate robbers who 
lurked in those mountains, and had become a terror to the neighbor¬ 
ing country.” To give a greater appearance of truth to his words, 
he published a proclamation, expressing thanks to the citizens of 
Rosa for their attack upon the soldiers. The very next day, how¬ 
ever, he sent a larger force than before to take the town, while 
the people, as he thought, were lulled into security. 

Captain Gianavel, however, was not thus to be deceived ; he at¬ 
tacked these new enemies as he had done the others, and forced them 
to flee down the mountain, leaving, as before, many of their dead and 
wounded companions lying upon the rocky path. 

Failing in these two attempts, the marquis determined on a third, 
but, still trying to deceive, he published another proclamation, dis¬ 
owning any knowledge of the second attempt. He soon after sent 
700 chosen men upon the expedition, who in spite of the brave de¬ 
fence of the inhabitants, entered Rosa and began to murder every 
man, woman, and child in the place. Captain Gianavel, at the head 
of his company, though they had been beaten in the fight on the 
road, took up a strong position behind a wall of stones and wood 
which they had hurriedly thrown across the single street leading 
to the interior of the town. Here he succeeded in holding the 
enemy back. 

The commander of the marquis’ forces was astonished and dis¬ 
mayed at this new obstacle, as he thought he had at last overcome 
all difficulties. He tried to force his way into the street, but it was 
too narrow for more than twelve men at a time, and the men of 
Rosa being safe behind a breastwork, killed all these before others 
could advance. Seeing his men falling around him, and fearing dis- 



grace if he permitted further slaughter, the commander reluctantly 
ordered a retreat Unwilling, however, to withdraw his men by the 
same road he had entered, on account of its steepness, he undertook 
to retire toward the town of Villaro, by another path, which, though 
narrow and difficult, was easier of descent Here, however, he again 
suffered from the tireless activity and courage of Gianavel, who hav¬ 
ing posted his little band upon the rocks, greatly annoyed the troops 
as they passed, and even pursued them till they entered the open 

The marquis of Pianessa, finding all his attempts to take Rosa by 
surprise had failed, resolved to throw off the mask; and publicly 
announced that every man who would bear arms against the here¬ 
tics of Rosa would be well rewarded, and that any officer who 
could take the town itself should have half the booty. 

Great Stones are Rolled Down upon the Soldiers. 

Captain Mario, a soldier of fortune and desperate ruffian, who 
would fight for any one who paid him, undertook the enterprise. 
He raised a force of one thousand men, and with these he attempted 
to gain the summit of a rock which overlooked the town. But the 
men of Rosa, aware of his design, hid themselves at the top and let the 
soldiers ascend without opposition till they had nearly reached the 
summit, when they made a most furious attack upon them with great 
stones, which they loosened from the mountain side and rolled down 
upon the armed band climbing toward their stronghold. 

This unexpected attack from above threw the assailants into con¬ 
fusion ; some were crushed to death where they stood, and others 
were hurled down the steep side of the mountain. Many, also, fell 
victims to their own fears, for while trying to escape down the nar¬ 
row and dangerous mountain path, they fell upon the cliffs below 
and were dashed to pieces. Captain Mario himself, having fallen 

from a craggy place into a river at the foot of the precipice, was 



taken up senseless, and after lingering some time, died. Only a 
small part of the attacking force escaped unhurt to the valley below, 
and these were so terrified by the crushing rocks hurled down upon 
them, that they refused to make any further attempt to take the 

After this, another body of troops from the camp at Villaro made 
an attempt upon Rosa, but were likewise defeated and compelled to 
retreat to their camp. Captain Gianavel, after each of these signal 
victories, knelt down, with his men, and returned thanks to God for 
His merciful protection of them. 

Enraged at being defied by a few poor villagers, the marquis of 
Pianessa determined to send a force strong enough to destroy them. 
So he ordered all the army of Piedmont to be called out, and adding 
to these eight thousand hired soldiers, he attacked Rosa from three 
sides at once. As might be expected, from the superiority of num¬ 
bers, the troops took the town, and as soon as they entered it began 
to murder the inhabitants in all the horrible ways known to them. 
Men were hanged, burned, or cut to pieces, women drowned or thrown 
from the precipices, and children were tossed upon spears or had their 
brains dashed out against the stones. On the first day of their gain¬ 
ing the town, one hundred and twenty-six persons were thus cruelly 

According to the orders of the marquis, they likewise plundered 
and burned the houses of the people. Several, however, made their 
escape, under the conduct of the brave Gianavel; but his wife and 
children were unfortunately made prisoners, and sent to Turin under 
a strong guard. 

GianaveHs Wife and Children Slain. 

The marquis thinking he now had the means of bringing Gianavel 
to terms, wrote him a letter, and sent it to him by one of the prisoners 
whom he released for that purpose. In this letter the marquis called 




upon Gianavel to give himself up; and assured him that unless he 
did so his wife and children should be put to death, and so large a 
reward offered for his own seizure, that even some of his friends 
would be tempted to betray him. 

To this, Gianavel returned the following answer: 

My Lord Marquis : There is no torment so great, or death so 
cruel, that I would not suffer it rather than give up my religion. My 
wife and my children I dearly love, and would die to save them, but 
I cannot purchase their lives at the price of my salvation; and they 
themselves would be the last to wish me to do so. You have them 
in your power, it is true; but my consolation is, that your power is 
only for a moment; you may destroy their mortal bodies, but their 
immortal souls are out of your reach, and will live hereafter, to bear 
testimony against you for your cruelties. 

Joshua Gianavel.” 

After thus giving up all that made life dear to him, Gianavel with 
a few companions sought a refuge among the lofty crags of his 
native Alps. Here they were soon joined by some of the men of 
Rosa who had escaped the slaughter. Their number gradually in¬ 
creased, and for a long time they defended themselves from the 
attacks of their foes, and even became bold enough to descend upon 
hostile towns and villages, making themselves feared and dreaded 
throughout the wild region in which they lived. 

Instances of Cruelty. 

The warfare between the Waldenses and the church forces was 
accompanied by many acts of cruelty. One of the members of this 
persecuted sect, who had become noted as a preacher, was ordered 
to be seized. The soldiers who went to take him were guided to his 
house by one of the Waldenses themselves who had treacherously 
agreed to betray the minister for money. This base traitor knocked 
at the door, and upon being asked who was there, answered in his 



own name. The minister, expecting no injury from a person whom 
lie had long known, immediately opened the door, but seeing the 
soldiers, turned and fled. They followed and caught him, however, 
and carried him off. After being confined a considerable time in 
prison, the unfortunate man was brought to trial and sentenced to be 

The soldiers continued their assaults, murdering and plundering 
many of the inhabitants. The Waldenses of Lucerne and Angrogne 
sent some armed men to the assistance of their brethren, who suc¬ 
ceeded for a time in driving away their tormentors and restoring some 
degree of order to the dismantled towns. 

The duke of Savoy, not finding himself as successful as he had 
expected to be, tried to increase the number of his soldiers, and even 
ordered a general release of criminals in the prisons, provided the 
convicts thus set at liberty would bear arms against the Waldenses. 
When the Waldenses heard this they secured as much of their prop¬ 
erty as they could, and leaving the valleys, sought shelter among the 
rocks and caves of the Alps. 

The army no sooner reached the deserted villages than they began 
to plunder and burn them. They were not able, however, to force the 
passes of the Alps, gallantly defended by the Waldenses; but if any 
of them fell into the ^hands of the troops, they were treated in the 
most barbarous manner. On one of the mountain roads some of the 
soldiers found an old man, upwards of eighty years of age, being 
helped along by his grand-daughter to a place of safety. The sol¬ 
diers inhumanly murdered the poor old man, and then attempted to 
take the girl, when she broke away, threw herself from a precipice, 
and was dashed to pieces on the rocks below. 

Determined, if possible, to drive away their invaders, the Waldenses 
entered into a league with Germany to force the duke’s army to -leave 
their native valleys, and resolved to forsake the mountains, where they 
soon must have perished, as the winter was coming on. 



But the duke of Savoy himself was tired of the war, it having 
cost him great fatigue and anxiety of mind, a vast number of men, 
and very considerable sums of money. It had been much more 
tedious and bloody than he expected, as well as more expensive, for 
the plunder did not pay the costs of the expedition, as he thought 
it would have done. For these reasons, and fearing that the Wal- 
denses, by the treaties they had entered into, would become too 
powerful for him, he made an agreement to keep peace with them, 
and returned to Turin with his army. 

Last Persecution of the Waldenses. 

This treaty of peace between the Waldenses and the duke of 
Savoy was made in 1561, and remained unbroken for nearly one 
hundred years. During all this time, however, the Waldenses suf¬ 
fered from petty insults and annoyances on account of their faith. 

In the year 1650, a jubilee was held at Rome, and it was, as usual, 
a season for exciting renewed activity against all who opposed Romish 
doctrines. At that time, the council “ for spreading the faith, and 
destroying heretics,” established courts in the principal cities of 
France and Italy, admitting many females of rank to membership. 
One of these courts was founded at Turin, over which Andrew Gas- 
taldo presided. After passing various laws, i^jtended to injure and 
annoy the Waldenses, an order was issued by which, during a winter 
of uncommon severity, all the inhabitants of Lucerne, and the more 
open districts, were commanded to leave their homes and to retire to 
the mountains, within three days, unless they would become Roman¬ 
ists. Wonderful to relate, not one of them hesitated between these 
conditions. They gave up their dwellings, and wading through the 
snow, with difficulty crossed the torrents, sheltering themselves in 
caves and under jutting rocks. But their persecutors, though dis¬ 
appointed of an excuse for murdering them, would not give up their 
bloody designs. An army of fifteen thousand men was soon sent 


into the valle}’'s, and under the pretence of being satisfied with the 
submission of the inhabitants, gained access to many of the villages 
and towns. In a few days the signal for a general massacre was 
given, and the most cruel torments were inflicted upon all who, trust¬ 
ing to the professions of peace, had not hidden themselves in the 
steepest and loftiest parts of the mountains. 

England and the Protestant nations of Europe now interfered, and 
another brief and troubled interval of repose was granted to the sur¬ 
vivors. The English government was particularly distinguished on 
this occasion for the energy with which it interposed in behalf of the 
Waldenses, and it sent quite a large sum of money to the sufferers. 
But peace did not last long. Upon the revocation of the edict of 
Nantes, and the persecution of the French Protestants by Louis 
XIV., that tyrant persuaded the duke of Savoy to once more attack 
the unfortunate people. So the bloody work was begun again ; but 
the Waldenses, being at last worn out, and exhausted by previous 
sufferings, offered to surrender provided they might be allowed to 
leave the country. Their proposal was accepted; but instead of 
being allowed to depart, many who had thus surrendered were bar¬ 
barously murdered. Those who were left were forced to abandon 
their native valleys and were imprisoned in different fortresses of 
Piedmont; much care being taken to separate parents and children 
and relatives, while the younger children were given for adoption to 
institutions and families of the Romish faith. 

More than twelve thousand men and women were shut up in 
gloomy dungeons, and experienced the most cruel treatment. They 
were fed upon bread made of the poorest materials, and given stag¬ 
nant water to drink. Their only beds were upon the bare stones 
or on filthy straw, and at the same time they were purposely so 
crowded together that fevers and other diseases caused the death 
of a great many. While in this state of privation and suffering, 
their conversion to Romanism was often attempted. Promises and 

2 i 6 


threats were employed for this purpose; but with a few exceptions, 
they continued to hold the faith of their fathers. It is not surprising 
that, under such treatment, their number was, in a few months, 
reduced from twelve thousand to three thousand. 

The Waldenses go to Switzerland. 

At last the duke of Savoy graciously deigned to listen to the 
appeal of the Swiss Cantons, and allowed the few who remained of 
this once numerous and happy people to go into exile. But they 
were compelled to begin their march in the severity of the winter 
season, and urged forward so cruelly that many perished by the way. 

The survivors reached Geneva about the middle of December, in 
such an exhausted state that several died at the gates of the city. 
But once within its walls they were received with Christian tender¬ 
ness, and the Protestants of Geneva contended with each other who 
should take in, and care for, these worn and weary travellers who had 
come to them in their distress. 

A Few Return to Italy. 

When the exiles became finally settled in their new home in Swit¬ 
zerland, most of them chose to live at Berne, and there they might 
have remained unmolested had not that love of country, always so 
strong among dwellers in the mountains, caused many to return to 
their native Alps. After two unsuccessful attempts, about eight hun¬ 
dred of the most determined among them, under the leadership of 
one of their pastors, named Arnaud, who acted both as their minister 
and their captain, obtained arms and crossed the Lake of Geneva one 
night in the year 1689, determined to force their way through the 
country of their enemies, and re-enter their own valleys, or perish in 
the attempt. 

The duke of Savoy, being told of their return, sent soldiers to 
attack them. But although greatly overmatched, the little band 




fought bravely for nine months. By that time, much reduced in 
number, and driven from their last stronghold, their destruction 
seemed certain, when Providence again interposed in their behalf 
War broke out between the duke of Savoy and the king of France, 
upon which the duke offered peace to his persecuted subjects, and 
allowed them again to settle in their native valley. It is a remarkable 
fact that before long the duke’s own defeat compelled him to seek a 
refuge from his enemies among the very people he had formerly 
persecuted, and that, forgetful of the past, they received him with 
kindness and loyalty. 

Waldenses Drowned at Venice. 

Before the persecution had reached the city of Venice, some Wal¬ 
denses made their homes there. The authorities, as soon as they 
learned of their presence gave orders for their arrest, and many 
were martyred for their faith. 

Various were the ways by which they suffered death; one in par¬ 
ticular, being uncommon and singular, will be described. The pris¬ 
oner, after being sentenced, was attached by an iron chain to a heavy 
stone. Both the man and the weight to which he was fastened were 
then laid upon a plank. The ends of the plank were placed upon 
two boats, which were rowed out on the sea; then the boats separated 
and the martyr’s weighted form sank to the bottom. 

A citizen of Venice, named Anthony Ricetti, was sentenced to be 
drowned in this manner. A few days before his execution his son 
went to him, and begged him to recant, that his life might be saved, 
and himself not left an orphan. To this the father replied, “A true 
Christian is bound to give up not only goods and children, but life 
itself, for the glory of his Redeemer.” The nobles of Venice offered 
him his life if he would change his religion; but finding their efforts 
unavailing, they ordered the execution of his sentence, which took 
place accordingly. 



Mohammed, the founder of the religion which takes its name from 
him, and which is the faith of the Turks and of more than one hun¬ 
dred millions of people in the East, was born at Mecca, in Arabia, 
about the year 570. His parents were poor, and his education 
limited; but by his genius and craft he made himself a king during 
life, and after death was worshipped as a prophet, and almost a god. 
The followers of Mohammed are called Mohammedans, from his own 
name; or, Mussulmans and Moslems, from the word Islam, which 
means submission to God and to his prophet; sometimes they are 
given the name of Arabs, from their parent country Arabia; and 
more frequently Saracens, from one of their principal tribes. 

Mohammed’s book, which is the Mohammedan’s bible, is called 
the Alcoran, or Koran. In this book there are to be found traces 
of paganism, Judaism, and even Christianity, strangely intermingled; 
but in the principles which it advocates and the rewards it promises 
it is well adapted to influence the sensual nature of the people for 
whom it was written. 

Mohammed Calls Himself a Prophet. 

At the age of forty, Mohammed proclaimed himself a prophet. 
Being subject to violent epileptic seizures, or fits, he turned them 
to his advantage by making his ignorant followers believe they were 
caused by the visits of an angel, who came to teach him, and whose 
presence threw him into trances and convulsions. Such was his in¬ 
fluence that, during his lifetime almost the whole of Arabia acknow- 




ledged Mohammed as the prophet of God, and armies of brave war¬ 
riors were eager to fight at his command. Mohammed was before 
everything else a soldier; and as he became more powerful he sought 
to establish his doctrine by force of arms. The glories of a paradise 
in which every sense would be gratified were promised to his followers 
who fell in battle. '' The sword,” said he “ is the key of heaven. He 
who falls in the fight, his sins are forgiven, his wounds shall be in¬ 
stantly healed, and he shall be borne aloft on the wings of angels.” 
As a consequence of their implicit faith in these promises the soldiers 
of the false prophet have always been renowned for their bravery. 
Assured of being instantly translated into an entrancing paradise, if 
slain in battle, they fling themselves upon their enemies with almost 
irresistible fury, and seem rather to court than avoid the death which 
most men fear. 

Growth of Mohammedanism. 

Mohammed died in 632. So rapid was the spread of the religion 
which he founded that eighty years after his death the Mohammedans, 
or Saracens as they were usually called, ruled supreme over Arabia, 
Syria, Persia, Egypt, the whole of the northern coast of Africa, and 
over Spain. They had, therefore, in this short space of time, con¬ 
quered as many nations as the ancient Romans had done during seven 
centuries of warfare. Although often driven back, and thousands of 
them slain by the armies of Christendom; as well as being sometimes 
held in check by strife within their own borders, their gigantic power 
continued to grow and grow for eight hundred years—until they placed 
their glittering crescent upon the spires of the Christian churches at 
Constantinople, and sounded their war-cry before the gates of Vienna. 

The Turks Attack Constantinople. 

Constantinople, the ancient, imperial city, which for more than 
eleven hundred years had repelled the attacks of the enemies of 


22 1 

Christianity, was besieged for the last time by the hosts of Islam in 
the year 1453. 

Mohammed IL, the fiercest and most terrible of the Turkish 
sultans, had no sooner taken the sceptre left by his father Amurath, 
than he resolved to wrest the ancient capital from the hands of the 
reigning sovereign, Constantine Palaeologus, a prince of splendid cour¬ 
age, who nobly redeemed the once glorious title of Roman emperor. 
Early in the month of April the Turkish hosts appeared before the city. 
Three hundred thousand men, swept up from all parts of Asia, formed 
the huge army of Mohammed, while a fleet of three hundred and 
twenty vessels prepared to attack Constantinople on the side toward 
the sea. 

Defenxe of Constantinople. 

Against this overpowering force Constantine could only bring a few 
ships and galleys, and about ten thousand soldiers. Although the city 
contained over one hundred thousand people, much the greater num¬ 
ber were unfit to take part in her defence; workers in costly fabrics 
and jewels, monks, and women were numerous, but of hardy soldiers 
there were only a few. By the emperor’s command a strict search 
was made through the streets and houses for men able and willing 
to bear arms against the enemy; some ships which arrived from the 
Black Sea were held, with their crews, to aid in the defence, and a 
strong chain was drawn across the mouth of the harbor to keep out 
the Turkish vessels. 

Mohammed’s Army Begins the Assault with Cannon. 

The Turks began by making a furious attack upon the land side of 
the city, which was protected by a double wall, and a deep ditch filled 
with water. Against these strong defences they could have made but 
little headway had it not been for the destructive force of gunpowder, 
then just coming into use. Mohammed planted fourteen enormous 
cannon before the walls, some of which carried stone balls weighing 



two hundred pounds. The thunderous reports of these great guns, 
and the crushing force of the round stones which they hurled against 
the gates and into the midst of the city, brought the Greeks of Con¬ 
stantinople in haste to the walls, from whence they looked dovvn in 
dismay at these new and terrible engines of destruction which were 
directed against them. 

Greek Fire is Thrown from the Walls. 

While it was true that the besieged were without cannon, yet 
they were well supplied with machines for throwing darts and stones, 
and above all, understood the art of making the celebrated “ Grecian 
fire,” or Greek fire, an infiammable liquid which blazed with such 
fierceness that it was believed to consume even iron and stones. 

The secret of making and using this flaming substance was said 
to have been first learned from a Syrian, named Callinicos. Naphtha, 
sulphur, and pitch seem to have formed its principal ingredients, and 
when lighted it burned with such fury that water was powerless to 
extinguish it. 

Greek fire could be used against an enemy with equal effect either 
upon land or sea,—being poured from the walls in great metal holders, 
or darted in arrows and spears around which were twisted fiax and 
tow. When used on ship-board the Greek fire was blown through 
long tubes of copper, fixed on prows shaped like savage monsters, 
which seemed to vomit flames and smoke. The secret of its manu¬ 
facture had been carefully preserved by the Greeks of Constan¬ 
tinople for over four hundred years, and was rightly regarded by 
them as their principal means of defence; but being discovered or 
stolen by the Moslems, it was at last turned against the Greeks them¬ 
selves. The discovery of gunpowder, however, put an end to its use, 
and it is little heard of after the fall of Constantinople. 

But during this siege it is certain that Greek fire was used with 
dreadful effect upon the Turks, driving them back with its fierce 



flame and suffocating smoke as they attempted to cross the ditch 
and scale the walls, destroying their platforms and ladders, and 
consuming ev^cn the bodies of the dead. War in those days, espe¬ 
cially between the hosts of the infidel and the armies of Christendom, 
was a series of desperate hand-to-hand struggles in which neither 
side gave or expected quarter. The ditches before the walls were 
nearly filled in some places by the wounded and the slain; and over 
their heaving bodies new ranks were forced onward by the impatient 
hordes behind. 

The heroic defence of Constantinople against such an overwhelm¬ 
ing host of enemies was due to the courageous leadership of the 
emperor, Constantine, and his faithful general, Justiniani, whose cour¬ 
age and enthusiasm seemed to transform his little band of followers 
into a great army of defenders. 

But the ceaseless hammering of the great stone cannon-balls soon 
made a hole in the outer wall; upon seeing which Mohammed ordered 
his forces to prepare for another assault. One of the means by which 
he expected to force an entrance was a great wooden tower, or mov¬ 
able fort, several stories high, and filled with armed men; this he had 
rolled close to the ruined wall, to protect the advance of the warriors 
he intended to throw into the city. A fierce battle was waged for 
two days during which every attempt of the Moslems to force their 
way through the broken wall was repelled by the bravery of the 
besieged. At length the Turks were driven back, and Mohammed 
suffered the mortification of seeing his wooden tower overthrown and 
set on fire. This unexpected defeat greatly enraged the fierce sultan, 
who exclaimed that, had thirty thousand prophets foretold such a 
calamity, he should not have believed it. 

Mohammed’s Fleet is Partly Destroyed. 

A few weeks after this reverse to his land forces a great disaster 
befell his fleet in the harbor. Four Christian vessels, filled with soF 



diers, and carrying supplies for the relief of the city, forced their way 
through the Turkish ships, sinking a great many of them and slaugh¬ 
tering their crews. Mohammed, who was watching the battle from 
the top of a neighboring hill, descended, foaming with rage, and 
furiously spurring his horse into the sea, met his defeated galleys 
as they returned to shore, and bitterly charged the captains with 
cowardice. So far did his rage carry him that he ordered the ad¬ 
miral to be deprived of his rank and publicly beaten. But fury and 
punishments were alike useless; the four Christian ships continued 
on their course, driving the remaining Turkish galleys before them, 
and at last anchored in triumph beneath the city walls. 

The possession of the harbor was of great importance to the 
Greeks, as it not only made them safe from attacks on that side, 
but kept the way open to receive supplies of food, and reinforce¬ 
ments of men, which began to be sorely needed. But to the last¬ 
ing disgrace of all Christian nations, no further aid was sent the 
beleaguered city, beyond the four vessels whose entrance into the 
blockaded harbor has just been described. 

But in spite of failing resources, the Greeks continued to defend 
themselves with undiminished bravery, until Mohammed himself be¬ 
gan to feel uneasy as to the result of the siege. The wild and bar¬ 
barous hordes which had followed him to the walls of the imperial 
city, made up of men who have been aptly described as the scum 
of Asia, were disheartened by the slaughter of so many of their com¬ 
rades and called loudly for a cessation of so bloody and perilous a 
siege. The fierce sultan, however, revived their drooping spirits by 
promising them that all the treasures of the rich city should be theirs 
if they would but make one more assault. 

Mohammed Leads the Final Assault. 

Accordingly, at evening on the 29th of May, the Moslem hosts 
assembled for a final attack, Mohammed himself rode through their 



ranks, renewing his promises of booty and of slaves to all who should 
follow him into the city. The shouts of the warriors as they crowded 
around their leader were heard with alarm by the defenders on the 
ramparts, and their terror was increased by the sudden silence which 
ensued, and by the light from innumerable signal torches which sud¬ 
denly blazed forth from the camp of the enemy. Seeing that the 
final struggle was near at hand, the emperor Constantine called to¬ 
gether his captains, and in a moving speech begged them not to sur¬ 
render their homes to the infidel, but rather to die in defence of them. 
His words brought tears to the eyes of his armed hearers, who em¬ 
braced each other, as if for the last time, and afterward separated to take 
their stations upon the ramparts. The emperor then visited the im¬ 
perial palace, gave his final directions, and asked pardon of his people 
for whatever wrongs might have occurred under his government; lastly 
he went to the church of St. Sophia, where he prayed, and received the 
communion, after which he resumed his place at the defences. 

At midnight Mohammed gave the signal for the assault, and imme¬ 
diately his whole force was hurled against the city. The Turks fought 
with the wild frenzy for which they were noted. Excited by the prom¬ 
ise of unlimited plunder, they rushed to the breach in the wall, and 
undismayed by the sight of their companions falling dead around 
them, forced their way desperately against the pikes and swords of 
the Greeks. 

But if the attack was furious the defence was not less heroic; 
though their ranks were thinned by death the besieged poured down 
from the top of the wall streams of the terrible Grecian fire, arrows, 
bolts, and great rocks and stones, which burned and crushed hun¬ 
dreds of their fierce assailants. But the combat was too unequal to 
last long; the outer rampart was passed by the Turks, and the 
Greeks took a final stand behind a barricade which had been hastily 
built inside the walls. Here the emperor fought hand to hand with 

the invaders, at the head of his soldiers; for two hours the contest 



continued, when Mohammed, with ten thousand of his choicest 
cavalry, the famous Janizaries, charged up the slope, and with 
flashing scimetars fell upon the little band behind the barricade. 

Fall of Constantinople and Death of Constantine. 

Amid the awful tumult of the Janizaries’ furious charge the emperor 
was seen trying to encourage his men; but it was in vain. Broken 
and panic-stricken they fled before the irresistible attack of the fierce 
horsemen; but Constantine, realizing that his empire was lost, refused 
to fly, and fighting to the last, fell dead upon a heap of his slain 

Constantinople was now left helpless, a prey to barbarous hordes 
of conquerors. Amid dreadful scenes of carnage, bands of wild 
Asiatics rushed from house to house, pillaging and destroying; 
women and children were collected together, a wretched band of 
captives, to be carried away as slaves by their heathen captors, while 
all resistance was put down by the sword. For three days Mohammed 
permitted his savage followers to plunder and kill as they would. 
Forty thousand of the unfortunate inhabitants were slain, while 
sixty thousand, yet more unfortunate, were carried away captive. 

It is related, that during the sack of Constantinople, the Turks took 
the cross from the spire of the great church of St. Sophia, and writing 
over it, This is the God of the Christians,” carried the sacred emblem 
around the city, and exposed it to the contempt of the soldiers. The 
body of the emperor being found among the slain, was also subjected 
to insult. Mohammed commanded the head to be stuck on a spear, 
and exhibited it to the mocking crowd. Such Christians as escaped 
from the wreck of the empire fled to parts of Western and Northern 
Europe; the ancient, imperial city itself became, and has ever since 
remained, the home of the sultans and the citadel of Mohammedanism. 

Thus the ancient capital of the Roman empire, which had been 
founded by a Constantine, fell during the reign of another Con- 




stantine, eleven hundred and twenty-three years later, into the hands 
of the barbarians of Asia. 

Attack on Rhodes. 

Sixty-seven years after the fall of Constantinople, the Turks, who 
had grown greatly in numbers and power, threatened all Europe. They 
invaded Hungary, took the city of Belgrade, and many other towns 
were successively carried by storm, or obliged to open their gates. 
Two years after this, under Solyman I., they attacked Rhodes, with 
a fleet of four hundred ships and an army of two hundred thousand 
men. The island was bravely defended by the Knights Hospitallers, 
a noble order of Christian crusaders who had held it against the 
infidels for over two hundred years. These heroes resisted the Turks 
till all their fortifications were levelled with the ground, their pro¬ 
visions exhausted, and their ammunition spent. Finding that no aid 
could be expected from the Christian nations, they surrendered, the 
siege having lasted about six months; during which the Turks had 
suffered dreadfully, no less than thirty thousand of them having died 
of wounds or disease. After this, Solyman for the second time 
invaded Hungary at the head of two hundred thousand men. He 
retook Buda from the Christians, and treated those who were found 
there with great cruelty. 

Siege of Vienna by the Turks. 

Insatiable in his ambition, and burning with the desire of universal 
conquest, Solyman led his fanatical host into Austria, glutting himself 
with slaughter on the way, and thinking to lay Europe, bound and 
helpless, at his feet, with Christianity banished from the earth. 

Bringing all his army before the walls of Vienna, he sent three 
Christian prisoners into the town, to terrify the citizens with an 
account of his strength. Happily for the Christians, only three days 
before the arrival of the Turks, the count palatine Frederic had 



entered the city with fourteen thousand chosen veterans, besides a 
body of horse. The Turkish commander summoned the city to sur¬ 
render ; but the Germans defied him, and he at once began the siege. 
It has already been told how the religion of Mohammed promises 
to all soldiers who fall in battle, no matter what their crimes, imme¬ 
diate admission to the joys of paradise. From this belief comes that 
fury and fearlessness which they show while fighting. They began 
with a tremendous cannonade, and made many attempts to take the 
city by assault; but the steady valor of the Germans was superior to 
the wild frenzy of their enemies. Solyman, filled with rage at this 
unusual check to his fortunes, planted his guns before the principal 
gate, and battered it with such violence, that a breach was soon 
made. Then the Turks, under cover of the smoke, poured into the 
city, and the Christians began to give up all for lost. But the 
officers, with admirable presence of mind, ordered a great shouting 
to be made, as if fresh troops had just arrived; upon hearing this 
their own soldiers took fresh courage, while the Turks, being seized 
with panic, turned and fled. 

Victory of the Christians. 

Rendered more desperate by resistance, Solyman made another 
attempt to enter, by undermining the wall. He set his Illyrians to 
work, who were experienced in this kind of warfare, and they suc¬ 
ceeded in tunnelling under ground to the foundations of the principal 
tower; but being discovered by the wary defenders, they counter¬ 
mined the Turks, by digging a tunnel of their own beneath that of 
the enemy. Having then laid a mine of gunpowder, extending even 
under the outposts of the Turks, they set fire to it, and blew up 
hundreds of them. Defeated in this attempt, the courage of the 
Turkish chief degenerated into madness. He gave orders to his 
men to climb the walls on ladders, by obeying which they were 
destroyed by thousands,—their very numbers aiding in their own 



defeat. The besieged threw down from the walls great stones; 
melted lead; hoops of iron wrapped with burning tow; every missile 
that would bruise, burn, or cut was hurled upon the heads of the 
clambering hosts. At length even the Moslems’ wild spirit was sub¬ 
dued ; they refused any longer to mount the ladders, and the sultan 
was forced to give up the assault. 

Solyman remained some time longer before Vienna, but sickness 
and starvation carried off great numbers of his men; for the Germans 
had found means to cut off all their supplies of food. Defeated in 
every attempt, Solyman, after having lost, altogether, eighty thousand 
soldiers, resolved to abandon the enterprise. He accordingly marched 
southward with all that was left of his army, thus freeing Europe 
from the threatened horrors of a relapse into heathenism. 

But Solyman did not entirely abandon his warlike designs against 
Austria. Three years afterward he reappeared with an army of three 
—or as some authorities assert,—five hundred thousand men. The 
emperor Charles V. marched against him with an army of one hun¬ 
dred and twenty thousand well-disciplined soldiers, beside many thou¬ 
sands of irregular troops. 

The knowledge that these powerful armies were advancing upon 
each other struck all Europe with awe. A tremendous conflict was 
expected which would decide the fate of Christendom. But when 
they drew near each other the sight of such formidable preparations 
seemed to make both sides hesitate to begin the conflict; instead 
of a decisive battle, only a few skirmishes took place between the 
advanced guards. Solyman feared to risk defeat, and thinking it 
safer to employ his arms against the less warlike nations of Asia, 
turned back. The emperor did not pursue him, being well satisfied 
that Europe should thus be saved from the horrors of an invasion 
of the infidel hosts. 



The Inquisition of the church of Rome was, in its days of power, 
one of the most terrible engines of tyranny ever created by man. It 
may be said to date from about the year 1200, when Pope Innocent 
IIL, perceiving that the Waldenses and other sects differing from the 
church were increasing in numbers, sent among them inquisitors, or 
monks who were known to be devoted to the cause of the church. As 
their name implied, they were appointed to inquire into everything that 
might lead to the discovery of heresy. Until the year 1248, inquis¬ 
itors had no buildings of their own, but travelled about from place to 
place; after that date they began to have houses called courts of the 
Inquisition, in which they lived and in which they could try, torture, 
and imprison those who fell under suspicion of holding views con¬ 
trary to the church of Rome. 

As years went on the punishment for heresy became more and 
more severe, and the inquisitors were given almost absolute power. 
Among their instructions, or rules, were the following : “ Any house 
in which a heretic has been known to live shall be destroyed; any 
prince, lord, or bishop sparing a heretic shall lose his place, lands, or 
office; heretics shall not be attended by a physician, even though 
suffering from mortal disease.'’ There were forty-five such rules 
agreed to and adopted by a council. As a great many priests of the 
church were too humane to enforce these cruel laws with a severity 
sufficient to satisfy those in power, the Dominican order of monks espe¬ 
cially was selected from which to appoint inquisitors. These, from 

the gloomy, rigid rules of their community, were usually strangers to 



any feelings of pity or compassion. Courts of the Inquisition were put 
under the control of these dark and vengeful spirits, and established 
in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and other countries. The people 
in the south of France—the country of the Waldenses—rose time 
and again, and took bloody vengeance upon some of the most hated 
of the inquisitors; and as time went on the powers of the Inquisition 
were much restricted, and at last entirely abolished in France and 
Germany, by enlightened kings or emperors. 

But in Spain, at a later date the Inquisition rose with renewed 
strength. In the year 1480 it was established with the consent of 
Ferdinand and Isabella, and became more powerful, and was more 
dreaded than any court that had ever before existed in the world. 
Woe to the men or women forced to enter the gloomy portals of the 
Spanish Inquisition,—a fate worse than death awaited them. Even 
the kings of Spain, tyrants though many of them were, trembled at 
its name and dared not disobey the least of its commands. It was a 
state as well as a church tribunal, and its influence was felt for over 
three hundred years on the government of the nation. 

■ 4 - 

Headquarters of the Inquisition. 

At the city of Seville, in the south of Spain, the headquarters of 
the Inquisition was established. Its object was not merely the suppres¬ 
sion of heresy though this might be the principal accusation under 
which most of its victims suffered. Money was often the real object 
of search; therefore, it was people of wealth that the iron hand of the 
Inquisition was most apt to seize. No high office or lofty dignity in 
church or State, no eminence in art or science, no purity of life, could 
save a man from its secret, sudden attack. The profit, or spoils, wrung 
from its victims amounted to large sums annually, and this was divided 
between the king, and the church at Rome. All the officials of the 
Holy Office, as the Inquisition was called, were also paid from the 
confiscated property of the accused; it was therefore to the interest 



of each one of them that the stream of wealth should not run dry 
owing to any lack of victims from whom to wring it. The Inquisi¬ 
tion began its work in Seville early in the year 1481, and before that 
one year was out had burned alive 298 persons. 

The Burning Place. 

The Quemadaro, as it was called, or burning place, was built by 
the mayor of Seville, at this time, to accommodate the many con¬ 
demned to die by fire. It rose, a square platform of stone, upon a level 
place not far from the city. Upon this grim altar the lives of almost 
daily victims went out amidst flames and smoke. The increasing 
activity of the Holy Office soon required a more efficient body of 
workers; so the Dominican monk, Thomas of Torquemada, a name 
that will be forever infamous in history, was made inquisitor general 
by pope Sixtus IV. Torquemada appointed a regular staff of officials, 
judges, secretaries, spies, executioners, and a treasurer. Beside the 
central office in Seville there were four similar local tribunals estab¬ 
lished ; and in course of time others were sent to countries under the 
power of Spain, notably in the Netherlands, where during the bloody 
sway of the duke of Alva its victims numbered thousands. 

Cruelties of Torquemada. 

Torquemada was chief inquisitor until his death, and during the 
eighteen years he ruled the Holy Office, ten thousand two Inuidred 
and twenty persons were burned alh^e, and ninety-seven thousand three 
hundred and tzventy-two punished with loss of property, or imprison¬ 
ment —numbers so large as to seem incredible, but which are given by 
Llorente, the Spanish historian of the Inquisition, who was well quali¬ 
fied to judge of their accuracy. 

In the course of years, as may be imagined, such measures com¬ 
pletely crushed Protestantism out of Spain ; those who had not fled 
to other countries had been burned—there were none left. By 1808, 



when the Inquisition was abolished, its victims numbered, according to 
the historian named before, 31,912 persons burned alive, and 291,450 
imprisoned in its dungeons. 

Rules and Customs of the Inquisition. 

All officials of the Inquisition were sworn to keep secret every¬ 
thing that happened in relation to it, either within or without its 
walls. The usual charge brought against prisoners was heresy. 
This was held to mean anything spoken or written against any of the 
articles of the creed, or the traditions of the Romish church. Equally 
guilty were those who believed that persons of any other faith than 
that of Rome could be saved from eternal punishment, or who dis¬ 
approved of any action of the Inquisition. Failing to inform on others 
who held such views; reading books not approved by the Inquisition; 
lending such books to others to read; letting a year pass by without 
going to a priest for confession ; eating meat on a fast-day—these with 
almost innumerable other trivial acts, committed or not committed, 
were called heresy, and made escape almost impossible for persons 
against whom the fatal charge was once made. 

Defence, indeed, was of little use to a prisoner of the Inquisition; 
suspicion alone was deemed a sufficient cause for condemnation, espe¬ 
cially if the unfortunate happened to be wealthy. He was never al¬ 
lowed to see the faces of his accusers; frequently was kept in igno¬ 
rance of the crime with which he was charged, and was subjected, day 
after day, to questioning and torture to wring from him a confession. 

Prisoners of the Inquisition. 

The Inquisition generally seized its victim at night. Not the 
slightest hint of danger was permitted to reach him until the actual 
moment of his arrest. At midnight, while he was sleeping in fancied 
security, dark figures silently assembled before his house and demanded 
entrance. To the question, '‘In whose name is this required?” the 



answer was, “The Holy Office.” “A thunderbolt, launched from 
black and angry clouds,” says the Spanish historian, “ struck not 
with such alarm as the words ‘ Deliver yourself up a prisoner to 
the Inquisition.’ Astonished and trembling, the unhappy man is 
at once a prey to the most dismal fears. He knows that his life is 
in danger, he thinks of his deserted wife and children, doomed to 
remain, perhaps, forever in ignorance of his fate. Burning tears 
came to his eyes; words of woe to his lips; then, amidst the con¬ 
fusion and despair of his family, and the pity of his neighbors, he 
is borne away to dungeons whose damp, bare walls will alone wit¬ 
ness his anguish.” 

Once within the walls of the Inquisition the prisoners were confined 
in separate cells, which were not only small, but contained no other 
furniture than a wooden bedstead, a table, and sometimes a chair. 
There were two rows of cells, built over each other. The upper rows 
were lighted by means of a small grated window; the lower cells 
were perfectly dark. The treatment of the prisoners varied according 
to their rank. The under rows of cells were used for heretics only. 
There, in solitude and silence, they never saw a human being except 
their keeper. Father and son, or mother and daughter, might be 
confined in adjoining cells without knowing it; and the merciless 
turnkeys were constantly on the watch, to prevent the utterance of 
any sound, lest it should occasion the discovery of some secret. If 
a man bewailed his misfortune, or prayed to God with an audible 
voice, he was instantly silenced. As persons might know one another 
by their groans or sighs, as well as by their articulate voice, no one 
was allowed even this expression of his misery in the dungeons of 
the Inquisition. An instance is related of a prisoner afflicted with a 
cough, to whom the jailers came with a warning to be quiet, because 
it was unlawful to make any noise in that house. The prisoner an¬ 
swered that it was not in his power to stop his cough. They warned 
him, however, the second time to forbear it; and because he could not 



they stripped him naked, and cruelly beat him: this increased his 
cough, for which they beat him again, until at last he died through 
the pain and anguish of his stripes. 

The prisoners were frequently taken from their cells and ques¬ 
tioned by the judges and counsellors of the Inquisition. Even when 
they had confessed all they knew they were continually told, You 
have not been sincere, you tell not all; you keep many things con¬ 
cealed, and therefore must go back to your dungeon/’ Those who 
had refused to answer were called for re-examination; if they con¬ 
tinued silent, such tortures were employed as compelled them to 
speak, whether guilty or no. 

Tortures of the Inquisition. 

After being examined by the inquisitors, if the prisoner still pro¬ 
tested his innocence, he was condemned to the torture. First he 
was led into a dimly lighted room under ground, and the grim figure 
of the executioner pointed out to him, clothed in a long black gown 
with a hood over his head and face. This terrifying form was sur¬ 
rounded by the dreadful instruments of his trade, and glared out 
upon the wretched prisoner through two eye-holes cut in the hood 
which covered his head and face. 

The tortures most common in the Inquisition were those of the 
rope and pulley, and the rack. In the first of these the hands of the 
prisoner were tied together behind his back, and a rope was attached 
to them leading to a pulley in the ceiling; he was then drawn up in 
the air by turning a windlass. Weights were hung to his feet to 
make the strain upon his arms and shoulders more severe. As the 
victim hung thus in mid air he was questioned, with deliberation, by 
the inquisitors, who, to aid his memory, occasionally let slip the 
rope and allowed the sufferer to fall a few feet, suddenly stopping 
him before he touched the ground. 

The rack was a very ancient instrument of torture and many forms 




of it were used. That most commonly found in the chambers of the 
Inquisition was built like a wide ladder, with rope, pulley, and wind¬ 
lass attached. The victim was stretched upon the cross-bars of this 
ladder and bound to them in various positions, according to the kinds 
of torture to be inflicted, each one of which had its name. The rope 
and windlass were then made use of to stretch and dislocate the 
prisoners joints and limbs. 

Besides the pulley and the rack, there were many other murderous 
machines used by the Inquisition in extorting confessions from un¬ 
happy victims, who might be, and very often were, in total ignorance 
of what crime they were supposed to have committed or were expected 
to confess. 

The Palace of the Inquisition. 

The house or palace of the Inquisition was a massive stone build¬ 
ing containing council chambers, dungeons, and torture-rooms. So 
large was the whole structure that a stranger might easily have lost 
himself in it. The apartments of the chief inquisitor were spacious 
and elegant. The main entrance was through a large gate, which led 
into a court-yard. There were upper chambers with outside gal¬ 
leries fronting upon this court-yard. These galleries were for the 
king and royal family, who could, if they wished, look down upon 
the punishment of certain prisoners. 

Story of William Lithgow’s Sufferings in the Inquisition. 

William Lithgow was an Englishman of respectable family, born 
about the year 1580. Being fond of travel, he visited when a young 
man France, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. After some months 
spent ill the latter country he came to the seaport city of Malaga, on 
the Mediterranean, and engaged passage on a French ship bound for 
Alexandria, Egypt. He was, however, unhappily prevented from 
leaving the country, as intended, by the following circumstances: 
On the evening before his ship was to sail, the English fleet, at that 


time on a cruise against the Algerine pirates, came to anchor before 
IMalaga, which threw the people of the town into great excitement, 
as they mistook them for their enemies the Turks. In the morning, 
however, they discovered their mistake; and the governor of Malaga 
went on board the admiral’s ship, and on his return dispelled the 
fears of the people. 

Many persons from the fleet came ashore the next day. Among 
these were several friends of William Lithgow, who invited him on 
board, which invitation he accepted, and was kindly received by the 
admiral. The fleet sailing for Algiers the next day, he returned to 
shore, and went to his lodgings intending to embark the same night 
for Alexandria, but in passing through a narrow street he was sud¬ 
denly attacked by nine men, who threw a black cloak over his head, 
and dragged him to the governor’s house. 

When the governor appeared, Lithgow begged to know why he 
had been abused in this manner. The governor only shook his head, 
and gave orders that the prisoner should be carefully guarded until 
he returned; directing, at the same time, that the mayor of the town, 
or alcaid, as he was called, and a notary, should be summoned to 
appear at his examination, and that the utmost secrecy be maintained 
to avoid rousing the English merchants who lived in the place. 

These orders were carried out, and on the governor’s return Lith¬ 
gow was brought before him for examination. The governor asked 
what country he was a native of, where he was going, and how 
long he had been in Spain. The prisoner, after answering these 
questions, was taken to a cell, where he was again examined by the 
alcaid, who inquired whether he had lately come from Seville, and, 
pretending great friendship, begged him to tell the truth; finding 
himself, however, unable to extort any confession from Lithgow, he 
left him. 

The governor then asked the prisoner why the English commander 
of the fleet which had just sailed, had brought his ships to that port. 



He asked, likewise, the names of the English captains in the squadron, 
and what knowledge Lithgow had of them before he left England. 
His answers were set down in writing by the notary; but the gov¬ 
ernor seemed surprised at his denying any knowledge of the plans 
of the fleet. He declared that Lithgow was a traitor and a spy, and 
came directly from England to favor and assist in the designs of that 
country against Spain; and that he had been for that purpose nine 
months in Seville, in order to get news of the time the Spanish navy 
was expected from the Indies. They pointed out his acquaintance 
with the officers of the fleet in proof of this. In short, they said, he 
came from a council of war held that morning on board the admiral’s 
ship, in order to carry out the orders given him. 

Lithgow in vain tried to deny these accusations, and in order to 
prove his innocence, begged that his papers might be examined. This 
was agreed to; but although they found passports and letters of recom¬ 
mendation from persons in authority, the prejudiced judges refused 
to believe in them, and pretended that their suspicions had been veri¬ 
fied. A consultation was then held to decide what should be done 
with the prisoner. The alcaid was for putting him in the town prison; 
but this was objected to, particularly by the chief of police, who said, 
“ In order to prevent the knowledge of his confinement from reach¬ 
ing his countrymen, I will take the matter on myself, and be answer- 
able for the consequences.” It was finally agreed that he should be 
confined in the governor’s house, and the greatest secrecy observed. 

Lithgow was then stripped, searched, and robbed of a large sum 
of money which he carried with him, and locked up in a room of the 
governor’s house. At midnight the sergeant and two Turkish slaves 
released him from his confinement, but it was to introduce him to 
a much more terrible one. 

They led their prisoner through several passages to a chamber in 
a distant part of the palace near the garden. Here they loaded him 
with irons, and stretched his legs apart by means of an iron bar more 



than a yard long, the weight of which was so great that he could 
neither stand nor sit, but was obliged to lie continually on his back. 

In the morning the governor visited him, and promised him his 
liberty if he would confess to being a spy; but on his protesting that 
he was entirely innocent, the governor left him in a rage, saying he 
should see him no more till further torments had made him confess. 

The unfortunate Lithgow remained in his dungeon for several 
days without seeing any one, except a slave who brought him scanty 
supplies of bread and water. The governor finally received an answer 
to a letter he had written to Madrid, inquiring about the prisoner; 
and following the instructions contained in it, prepared to inflict the 
cruelties commonly used upon prisoners from whom it was desired 
to force a confession. 

About three o’clock in the morning, Lithgow was startled by 
hearing the noise of a wagon in the street, followed by the opening 
of his prison doors. Immediately afterward four rough-looking men 
came in, and without uttering a word, picked him up in his irons, 
just as he lay, and carrying him out to the street, threw him into 
the bottom of the wagon and drove away. Two of the men rode 
with him, and the rest walked, all keeping perfectly silent. After hav- 
ing gone about a mile from the city they came to a stone house, built 
to hold a wine-press, in which a rack had been set up, and here they 
laid him on the floor and left him to pass the remainder of the night 
with this dismal companion. 

About daybreak the next morning the governor and the alcaid 
arrived, into whose presence Lithgow was immediately brought, to 
undergo another examination. The prisoner asked that he might 
have an interpreter, but this was refused; nor would they permit 
him to appeal to the superior court at Madrid. After a long exami¬ 
nation, which lasted the greater part of the day, there appeared in 
all his answers such a similarity to what he had said before, that 

they declared he had learned them by heart. They, however, pressed 



him again and again, to make a full confession; that is, to accuse him¬ 
self of crimes never committed; the governor adding, “You are still 
in my power; I can set you free if you comply: if not, I must deliver 
you to the executioner.” The prisoner still persisting in his innocence, 
the governor finally ordered him to be put to the torture. 

Lithgow was then taken to the rack. Before being placed upon 
it, the executioner struck off his shackles, which put him to very 
great pain, as the bolts were so closely riveted that the sledge ham¬ 
mer tore away about half an inch of his heel in forcing off the irons; 
the pain of this, together with his weak condition, caused him to, groan 
bitterly; upon which the merciless alcaid said, “ Villain ! traitor! this 
is but the beginning of what you shall suffer.” 

As soon as the irons were off, Lithgow fell on his knees, uttering a 
short prayer, that God would be pleased to enable him to be steadfast 
and undergo courageously the trial he was about to endure; he was 
then stripped and fixed upon the rack. This was the favorite instru¬ 
ment of the merciless Inquisition to enforce confession from those 
whom it suspected of withholding evidence. 

It is impossible to describe the various tortures inflicted upon the 
poor prisoner while he lay on this dreadful machine. Many of them 
were of the most infernal nature; and had they been continued much 
longer he must have expired. On being taken from the rack, and 
his irons again put on, he was carried to his former dungeon, hav¬ 
ing first received a little warm wine, which was given him rather 
to preserve him for future punishments, than from pity. In this 
dreadful situation he remained for several days. At last Lithgow 
heard some news which left him with little hope of ever seeing Eng¬ 
land again ; it appeared that an English seminary priest, and a Scotch 
cooper, had been for some time employed by the governor to trans¬ 
late from the English into the Spanish language, all his books and 
letters; and that it was commonly said in the governor’s house that 
he was an arch and dangerous heretic. About two days after an 




inquisitor, with the alcaid, entered his dungeon, and after several idle 
questions, asked Lithgow if he acknowledged the pope’s supremacy? 
He answered that he did not, and in the bitterness of his soul he 
heaped reproaches upon the two hardened wretches, and ended by 
saying—“ As you have almost murdered me for pretended treason, 
without finding any grounds for suspicion, so now you intend to 
make a martyr of me for my religion.”! 

To this the inquisitor replied, “You have been taken up as a spy, 
accused of treachery, and tortured, as we acknowledge. It may be 
that you are not a spy, but we have found by your books and writings 
that you surely are a heretic, and therefore deserve even worse pun¬ 
ishment than you have received.” 

They then gave their prisoner eight days to consider whether he 
would become a convert to their religion or not. During this time the 
inquisitor and others argued frequently with him, but to all their talk 
Lithgow turned a deaf ear. At last the inquisitors, finding their 
arguments had no effect, and that threatened torments could not shake 
his constancy, left him. On the eighth day after, being the last day 
allowed for examination, before sentence is pronounced, they returned 
again, but quite changed both in their words and behavior. With 
seeming grief, they pretended they were sorry from their hearts he 
must be obliged to undergo a terrible death; but above all, they 
lamented the loss of his most precious soul; and falling on their 
knees, cried out, “ O dear brother, be converted 1 ” To which Lith¬ 
gow stoutly answered, “ I fear neither death nor fire; I am prepared 
for both; so, do your worst!” 

That night Lithgow received the dreadful sentence of eleven dif¬ 
ferent tortures, and if he did not die in the midst of them, he was 
after Easter holidays to be carried to Grenada, and there burned to 
ashes. The first part of the sentence was carried out with cold¬ 
blooded cruelty, but it pleased God to give the poor victim strength 
of body and mind to survive the dreadful ordeal. 



They then took their victim back to his dungeon. The next morn¬ 
ing he received some little comfort from a Turkish slave, who secretly 
brought him in his shirt-sleeve some raisins and figs, which Lithgow, 
bound as he was, managed to lick up and swallow. It was to the 
kindness of this slave that Lithgow attributed his living so long. He 
brought food to him every day; and it was entirely due to this un¬ 
looked-for charity that the unfortunate man survived his dreadful 
injuries. He was also helped by a negro servant, who found means 
to bring him not only food, but some wine in a bottle. 

Lithgow now waited with resignation for the day which, by put¬ 
ting an end to his life, would also end his torments. But this, as 
it happened, was not to be. 

A Spanish gentleman of rank came from Grenada to Malaga; 
and being invited to a supper by the alcaid, was told by him, in 
a moment of confidence, about the English prisoner he had taken, 
and was secretly torturing. 

While the alcaid was telling his story, a Flemish youth, who 
waited at table, a servant to the Spanish gentleman, heard with amaze¬ 
ment and pity of the sufferings of the stranger. On his return to 
his master’s lodging, he began to turn over in his mind what he had 
heard, and could not rest in his bed for thinking of it. When morn¬ 
ing came he went quietly into the town, to the house of one Mr. Wild, 
an English merchant, to whom he related the whole of what had 
passed between his master and the alcaid, but as he had not heard 
the name of the prisoner, he could not give that information to the 
English merchant. Wild, however, guessed who it was, havdng heard 
of Lithgow’s disappearance; and he lost no time in going to all the 
other English merchants in the city, and telling them of the peril of 
their unfortunate countryman. 

After a hurried consultation it was agreed that information of the 
whole affair should be sent, at once, to Sir Walter Aston, the Eng¬ 
lish ambassador at Madrid. This was done, the ambassador quickly 


presented an appeal to the king and council of Spain, obtained an 
order for Lithgow’s immediate release, and delivery to the English 
merchants. This order was directed to the governor of Malaga, and 
was received by the members of the bloody Inquisition, to their 
great astonishment and chagrin, just as they were about to begin 
again their horrid barbarities upon the prisoner. 

Lithgow was therefore released from his prison, and carried from 
his dungeon on the back of the slave who had attended him, to the 
house of a merchant named Busbich, where every attention and com¬ 
fort was given him. It fortunately happened that there was at this 
time a squadron of English ships in the harbor, commanded by Sir 
Richard Hawkins, who being informed of the sufferings of his fellow- 
countryman came ashore the next day with a proper guard, and 
received him from the merchants. He was instantly carried in 
blankets on board the war-ship Vanguard. The merchants took up 
a subscription and presented the unfortunate man with clothes, and 
all necessary provisions, besides which they gave him one hundred 
dollars in silver. They also demanded the delivery of his papers, 
books, and money, but got none of them. 

In a few days the ship weighed anchor, and in about two months 
arrived safe at Deptford, England. The next morning Lithgow was 
carried on a feather bed to Theobalds, in Hertfordshire, where, at 
that time, the king and royal family held their court. Lithgow was 
presented to them as he was, lying disabled upon his bed, and he 
related, as well as he could, the history of his sufferings. The king 
was so much affected by his sad story and emaciated appearance, that 
he expressed the deepest pity, and gave orders that he should be 
placed in a hospital at Bath. 

After some time Lithgow was restored from the most wretched 
creature ever seen to a share of health and strength, but he lost the 
use of his left arm, several of the smaller bones being so crushed 
and broken as to render their setting impossible. 




The following is an account of the experiences of another I^nglish 
traveller who fell into the hands of the Spaniards, and who suffered 
from the barbarous treatment they dealt out to every one differing 
from them in religion : 

Isaac Martin, an English trader, came to Spain with his wife and 
four children. On the examination of his baggage, his Bible and 
some other books were seized, and he was soon after accused of 
being a Jew, for no other reason than that his name was Isaac, and 
that one of his sons was named Abraham. The priests sent to Mar¬ 
tin’s Spanish neighbors to know their opinion of him. They replied 
“ We believe him not to be a Jew, but a heretic.” After this, being 
constantly called upon to change his religion, he determined to sell 
what he had, and leave Spain. But unfortunately, he was so impru¬ 
dent as to talk of his plans to one of his neighbors, who carried the 
information to one of the familiars of the Inquisition. 

One evening about nine o’clock, there came a loud knocking at 
the door of Martin’s house. Surprised at this, he called out to 
know who was there. The reply came low but distinct, The Holy 
Office.” Martin, not knowing the significance of these fateful words, 
answered that they must come in the day-time if they wanted to get in. 

With a crash the door was at once broken down, and nine officers 
of the Inquisition strode into the room. They seized Martin and 
bound him, ransacked his house, carried away everything it contained 
and left his terrified wife and children weeping upon the bare floors. 
Martin himself was put in a cell, loaded with heavy irons and threat¬ 
ened with the most dreadful punishments. After four days he was 
told he was to be taken to the city of Grenada for trial. He begged 
that he might first see his wife and children, but even this poor 
request was refused him. 

Doubly fettered, Martin was mounted on a mule, and sent with an 
armed guard towards Grenada. On the way the mule fell, upon a 



rocky part of the road, almost breaking his unlucky rider’s neck. 
On arriving at Grenada, after a journey of three days, Martin was 
kept at an inn until it was dark, for they did not take prisoners to 
their cells in the day-time; this was done secretly, under cover of 
night, so that no one might know what had become of their victims. 
At night, therefore, he was taken to the prison, and led along a dark 
stone gallery until he came to a dungeon, into which he was thrust. 
The jailer then took a list of everything the prisoner had about 
him, even to his very buttons. Having asked him a great number 
of questions, he gave him these orders: ''You must keep as complete 
silence here as if you were dead; you must not speak, nor whistle, 
nor sing, nor make any noise that can be heard; and if you hear 
anybody cry, or make a noise, you must be still, and say nothing, 
under penalty of 200 lashes.” Martin asked if he might have so great 
liberty as to walk about his cell; his jailer replied he might, but it 
must be very softly. After giving him some wine and bread, the 
jailer left him till the morning. There was no fire. It was frosty 
weather, the walls of the dungeon were between two and three feet 
thick, the floor was of brick, and a great deal of cold wind came 
through a hole, about a foot square, which served as a window. 

The next morning the jailer came to light the lamp, and ordered 
Martin to kindle a fire to cook his dinner. He then took him to a 
turnstile or revolving shelf, such as is found in the doors of prisons, 
by which a keeper outside can give food to one within, without show¬ 
ing his face. Martin received half a pound of mutton, two pounds of 
bread, some beans, a bunch of raisins, and a pint of wine, which 
was the allowance for three days. He had also brought in to him 
two pounds of charcoal, an earthen stove, and a few other articles. 

In about a week Martin was called to stand trial. Following the 
jailer, he came to a large room and saw there a man sitting with a 
pen in his hand, who was, as he afterward learned, the secretary. 
The chief inquisitor, or judge, a man of about sixty years of age. 



was also there, sitting upon a high seat at the end of the room, 
lie ordered Martin to sit down upon a little stool which was in 
front of him. An examination of the prisoner then took place; 
the questions related to his family, their religion, and his own form 
of faith. Martin frankly told them who and what he was. After 
this was over he was sent back to his cell, and afterward underwent 
five examinations, without any crime being proved against him. 

A few days after, Martin was called to his sixth hearing, at which 
the inquisitor told him the charges against him would now be read, 
and that he must give an answer to each of them. 

The accusations against him numbered twenty-six, but were prin¬ 
cipally of the most trivial nature, and the greater number wholly false 
or, if founded on facts, so distorted by the malice of his accusers, as 
to bear little resemblance to the real truth. However, Martin an¬ 
swered the whole of them firmly, exposing their weakness and 
falsity; after which he was sent back to his dungeon. In a little 
while, two of the officers of the Inquisition visited him, and to them 
poor Martin complained bitterly of having been promised a lawyer to 
plead his cause; ‘Avhen instead of a proper person,” said he, 'Hhe 
man you called a lawyer never spoke to me, nor I to him; if all you'* 
lawyers in this country talk as little as he does, they are the quir 
in the world, for He hardly said anything but yes and no to wha^ your 
lordship said,” To this one of the inquisitors gravely replied, “ Law¬ 
yers are never allowed to speak here.” In spite of his danger, Martin 
could scarce help laughing in their faces, to think that his cause was to 
be defended by a man who dared not open his lips. Some time after, 
he was ordered to dress himself: as soon as he was ready, one of the 
jailers came and told him, that he must go with him; but at first he 
must have a handkerchief tied about his eyes. He now expected to 
be tortured; but after another examination, he was sent back to his 

About a month afterward, he had a rope put around his neck, and 



was led by it to the altar of the great church. Here his sentence was 
pronounced. It was, that for the crimes of which he stood convicted, 
the lords of the Holy Office had ordered him to be banished out of 
the dominions of Spain, and to receive 200 lashes. 

The next morning the executioner came, stripped him to the waist, 
tied his hands together, and led him out of the prison. He was then 
mounted on an ass, and received his two hundred lashes, amidst shouts 
and pelting with stones by the people. He remained for two weeks 
after this in jail, and at length was sent to Malaga. Here he was put 
in prison for some days, till he could be sent on board an English 
ship; which had no sooner happened, than news was brought of a 
war between England and Spain, and his ship with some others was 
ordered to be put in readiness to fight. Martin not being considered 
a prisoner of war, was put on board of a Hamburg trader, and his 
wife and children soon came and joined him; but he was obliged to 
submit to the loss of all his property, which had been seized upon 
by the Inquisition. 

This stor}" of Isaac Martin’s sufferings was first published by the 
order of the archbishops of Canterbuiy^ and York, the bishop of 
London, and others. 

A Spanish Prisoner of the Inquisition. 

A Spaniard named Juliano travelled into Germany, and there be¬ 
came a convert to the reformed religion. When he went back to 
Spain he took with him to Seville a number of Bibles, to distribute 
among the people of his own countr}% so that they might have the 
same advantages he had enjoyed. He succeeded in this dangerous 
enterprise so far as getting the books into the hands of a great num¬ 
ber of people, but a pretended friend who had received a Bible, be¬ 
trayed the giver to the Inquisition. 

Juliano was immediately seized and put to the most cruel tortures 
to make him confess the names of all to whom he had given the hated 




books. Ingenuity was exhausted in finding torments sufficiently severe 
to punish this native-born Spaniard who had dared to sow the seeds 
of “ heresy ” in the very stronghold and citadel of the ancient church. 
Whether or not he yielded to the inquisitors, and told the names of 
persons implicated is not known, but no less than eight hundred per¬ 
sons were arrested as being partakers in the '' great crime ” of having 
themselves accepted, or having knowledge of others being in pos¬ 
session of — the Bible. Juliano was finally burned at the stake, with 
twenty others. The rest were either imprisoned for life, sent to the 
galleys, or publicly whipped and banished from the kingdom. 

Another Spaniard, named Juan Leon, who went to Germany to 
escape the dark superstitions which hung like a pall over his native 
land, joined a party of English people, intending to sail with them 
for England. But information had been lodged against him at the 
court of the Inquisition. Leon was seized, heavily fettered, and with 
his head and neck covered with a kind of iron network, taken back 
to Spain. Having arrived there, he was thrown into a dungeon, 
barbarously tortured, and at last strangled to death by the public 

Auto de Fe, or Public Burning of Martyrs in Spain. 

The following account of an auto do fe, in Seville, held during the 
reign of Philip II., 1559, taken from ancient records describing the 
event, by Prescott, the celebrated historian. 

A great square in the centre of the city was the place where the 
ceremonies were held which always preceded the burning of “ here¬ 
tics.” At one end of this square a platform was raised, covered with 
rich carpeting, on which were ranged the seats of the inquisitors. 
Near to this platform was built a high stand or gallery for the 
king and royal family, and opposite to this a large scaffold for the 
unhappy martyrs was placed so as to be plainly visible from all 
parts of the square. 



At six o’clock in the morning all the bells in the city began to toll 
and a solemn procession was seen to move from the gloomy prison of 
the Inquisition. In front marched a body of troops to secure free 
passage for the procession. Then came the condemned, each attended 
by two familiars, or monks, of the Holy Office. Those who were to 
suffer at the stake were accompanied by two friars, in addition, who 
constantly exhorted the “ heretic ” to renounce his errors. These un¬ 
fortunates destined for the fire were each enveloped in a loose sack 
of yellow cloth—called the san bcnito —and each wore upon his head 
a pointed pasteboard cap. Both the sack and the cap were covered 
with hideous pictures of flames, and of devils fanning and feeding 
them; to show the supposed fate of the “ heretic’s ” soul in the world 
to come, as well as of his body in the present. Then came magis¬ 
trates, judges of the courts, and nobles on horseback. These were 
followed by members of the dread Inquisition; and the rear was 
brought up by an immense concourse of the people of the city. 

As the procession filed into the square the inquisitors took their 
seats on the platform prepared for them; and the king and his attend¬ 
ants were admitted by a private staircase to their gallery. The cere¬ 
monies began with a sermon by the bishop; when he had ended, the 
grand, inquisitor administered the oath to the assembled multitude, 
who on their knees solemnly swore to defend the Inquisition, to 
maintain the purity of the faith, and to inform against any one who 
departed from it. As king Philip repeated the oath he suited the 
action to the word, and rising from his seat, drew his sword from its 
scabbard, as if to announce himself as the champion of the so-called 
Holy Office. After this the secretary of the tribunal read the charge 
against each of the prisoners, and the sentence pronounced against 
them. Those who had recanted, each, as his name was spoken, 
knelt down, and with his hands on the prayer-book solemnly ab¬ 
jured his errors, and was absolved by the grand inquisitor. These, 
however, were not to be entirely relieved from punishment for their 



transgression. Some were doomed to imprisonment for life in the 
dungeons of the Inquisition, others to lighter sentences, but all had 
their property confiscated—a part of the sentence too profitable to 
the tribunal ever to be omitted. Besides this, they, as well as their 
immediate descendants, were, in many cases, pronounced unfit to 
hold public office of any kind, and their names were branded with 
perpetual infamy. Thus blighted in fortune and in character, they 
were said—in the hypocritical and malevolent language used by the 
Inquisition—to be reconciled. 

The Martyrs. 

After the prisoners who had recanted had been sent back, under a 
strong guard, to their dungeons, all eyes were turned upon the little 
company of martyrs, who, clothed in the hideous garb of the san 
benito^ stood upon their scaffold awaiting the sentence of the judges. 
Cords were fastened to their necks, and to their hands a cross, or 
sometimes an inverted torch typical of their own approaching fate, 
was firmly tied. Upon this occasion the interest of the spectators 
was still further excited by the fact that several of these victims 
were not only illustrious for their rank, but yet more so for their 
talents and virtues. In their haggard looks, their emaciated forms, 
and too often, alas! their distorted limbs, it was easy to read the 
story of their sufferings,—for some of them had been confined 
within the dark walls of the Inquisition for more than a year; yet 
their faces, though pale and worn, far from showing any signs of 
weakness or fear, were lighted up with the glow of holy enthusiasm, 
as of men prepared to seal their testimony with their blood. 

When that part of the charge showing the grounds of their con¬ 
viction had been read, the grand inquisitor consigned them to the 
hands of the sheriff of the city, beseeching him to deal with the 
prisoners in all kindness and mercy—a mild-sounding but most in¬ 
sincere mockery of intercession; since no choice was left to the 



civil officer but to execute the terrible sentence of the law against 
''heretics,” full preparations for which had been made by him a 
week before. The whole number of the convicted ^mounted to 
thirty, of whom sixteen were reconciled, and the remainder relaxed 
to the secular arm—in other words, turned over to the sheriff for 
execution. There were but two out of the fourteen thus condemned 
who, when brought to the stake, did not so far shrink from the dread¬ 
ful doom that awaited them as to consent to purchase a mitigation 
of it by confession before they died; these were strangled before 
the flames were lighted. 

Heroism of Don Carlos de Seso. 

Of the two martyrs whose constancy triumphed to the last over 
the dread of suffering, one was Don Carlos de Seso, a nobleman of 
Florence. Having married a lady of rank in Spain, he had come 
to that country to live. Being converted to the Lutheran doctrine 
and endeavoring to bring others to the same faith he became, of 
course, a shining mark for the Inquisition. During the fifteen months 
in which he lay in its gloomy cells, cut off from human sympathy and 
support, his constancy remained unshaken. When led before the royal 
gallery, on his way to the place of execution outside the city walls, De 
Seso pathetically exclaimed to king Philip, " Is it thus that you allow 
your innocent subjects to be persecuted ?” To which the king made 
this memorable reply—which will stand for all time unequalled in 
its ferocious bigotry—“ If it were my own son, I would fetch the 
wood to burn him, were he such a wretch as thou art.” 

At the stake De Seso showed the same unshaken constancy, bear¬ 
ing his testimony to the truth of the great cause for which he gave 
up his life. As the flames crept slowly around him, he called on the 
soldiers to heap up the faggots, that his life might be sooner ended ; 
and his executioners, enraged at the " obstinacy ”—the heroism—of 
the martyr were not slow in obeying his commands. 

DOxMingo DE Roxas. 

The companion and fellow-sufferer of De Seso was Domingo de 
Roxas, son of the marquis De Poza. De Roxas was once a Domin¬ 
ican monk. Strange to say, this order, from which most of the 
officials of the Inquisition were taken, also furnished many converts 
to the reformed religion. De Roxas, as was the usage with eccle¬ 
siastics, was permitted to wear his priestly habit until his sentence 
had been read, when he was degraded by having his vestments 
stripped off, one after another, and the yellow fiend-bespangled sack 
of the san benito thrown over him, amid the derisive shouts of the 
populace. Thus apparelled he attempted to address the spectators 
around the scaffold ; but no sooner did he begin to raise his voice 
against the errors and cruelties of Rome, than the king angrily 
commanded that he be gagged. A cleft piece of wood was there¬ 
fore thrust into his mouth, which, forcibly compressing the tongue, 
had the additional advantage of causing great pain, while it also 
effectually silenced the prisoner. Even when De Roxas was bound 
to the stake, the gag, though contrary to the usual custom, was 
suffered to remain in his mouth, as if his enemies even then dreaded 
the effect of an eloquence that could triumph over the anguish of 
such a death. 

The place of execution—the Quemadaro, or burning-place—was 
outside the walls of the city. Those who attended an auto de fe 
were not, therefore, necessarily, as is commonly imagined, spectators 
of the tragic scene that concluded it. The great body of the people, 
however, including those of higher rank, followed to the place of 
execution. On this occasion, it is most probable, from the account 
of the king’s biographer, that the monarch witnessed in person the 
appalling close of the drama; while his guards mingled with the 
menials of the Holy Office, and helped to heap up the faggots 
around their victims. 

Such was the cruel exhibition, which, under the garb of a religious 



festival, was esteemed as a praiseworthy ceremonial and practised for 
more than three centuries in the sunny land of Spain. 

Power of the Inquisition in Spain during the Reign of 
Philip IL and His Successors. 

Not satisfied with encouraging the Inquisition to practise its cruel¬ 
ties on the land, Philip II. established it even upon his ships at sea. 
It is recorded that in 1571, a large fleet having been drawn together, 
under the command of John of Austria, and manned with soldiers of 
various nations, Philip, with the consent of pope Pius V., to prevent 
any corruption of the faith, deputed one of the Spanish inquisitors 
to discharge the duties of his office at sea. He gave him full power 
to preside in all tribunals, and to celebrate autos de fe in all places and 
cities to which they sailed. 

The Story of Galileo. 

The most eminent men of science and philosophy of the day did 
not escape the watchful eye of this cruel despotism. Galileo, the 
chief astronomer and mathematician of his age, was the first who 
used the telescope successfully in solving the movements of the 
heavenly bodies. He discovered that the sun is a centre of motion 
around which the earth and various planets revolve. • For making 
this great discovery Galileo was brought before the Inquisition, and 
for a while was in great danger of being put to death. 

After a long and bitter review of Galileo’s writings, in which many 
of his most important discoveries were condemned as errors, the 
charge of the inquisitors went on to declare, ‘‘That you, Galileo, 
have upon account of those things which you have written and con¬ 
fessed, subjected yourself to a strong suspicion of heresy in this 
Holy Office, by believing, and holding to be true, a doctrine which 
is false, and contrary to the sacred and divine Scripture — viz., that the 
sun is the centre of the orb of the earth, and does not move from the 



cast to the west; and that the earth moves, and is not the centre of 
the world.” 

In order to save his life, Galileo admitted that he was wrong in 
thinking that the earth revolved around the sun, and swore that— 
“ For the future, I will never more say, or assert, either by word or 
writing, anything that shall give occasion for a like suspicion.” But 
immediately after taking this forced oath he is said to have whispered 
to a friend standing near, “The earth moves, for all that.” 

Base Methods of the Inquisition. 

Promises of pardon and favor were usually held out by the inquisi¬ 
tors to all who confessed, voluntarily, any secret fault they might once 
have committed. But whoever put himself in their power by such a 
confession found their promises of pardon to be but a snare to catch 
the unwary. The following account will serve as an example of this, 
out of many that are recorded. 

A Spaniard named Antonius de Vega, deceived by the professions 
of sympathy and kindness which the inquisitors professed for those 
who voluntarily confessed their crimes before the holy tribunal, ad¬ 
mitted that at a former period of his life he had been of the opinion 
that a man might be saved without confession and absolution. This 
error, however, he had long since renounced, and he therefore begged 
the promised forgiveness from the judges of the Holy Office. But 
to his astonishment and horror, he heard the lords of the Inquisi¬ 
tion order him to be confined immediately in one of the dungeons 
prepared for “ heretics.” After three years’ imprisonment, the miser¬ 
able confessor was condemned to appear at an auto de fe, after which 
his property was confiscated, and himself banished. 

Even the death of a prisoner was no barrier to the fury of the 
Inquisition, or the grave an asylum against its persecutions. His 
tomb was violated, his bones burned, and his children deprived of their 
inheritance. Many instances are recorded of this inhuman act having 

26 o 


been done; the chief motive of the holy tribunal in thus waging war 
upon the dead being, of course, to gain possession of their property. 

During the reign of Philip IL, the power and insolence of the in¬ 
quisitors daily increased, and the kingdom of Spain literally groaned 
under their oppressive yoke. Philip III. was no less bigoted, super¬ 
stitious, and cruel than his father, nor were the succeeding kings, dur¬ 
ing a period of one hundred years, any more enlightened or humane. 

The French Army in Spain. 

On the death of Charles IL in 1700, without children, Philip V. 
became king, but the succession was disputed, and a kind of civil war 
broke out in Spain, the Archduke Charles of Austria claiming the 
crown. Among the troops hired by Philip were about 14,000 French¬ 
men. This force was sent into the province of Arragon, the inhab¬ 
itants of which had declared for Charles. The people were soon made 
to submit; and the French came into possession of the city of Sara¬ 
gossa, in which there were a number of convents, and, in particular, 
one belonging to the Dominicans. General de Legal, the French 
commander, found it necessary to levy a heavy contribution on the 
inhabitants, not excepting the convents. The Dominicans, all the 
friars of which were familiars of the Inquisition, excused themselves 
in an humble manner, saying they had no money, and that if General 
de Legal insisted upon demanding their part of the contribution, they 
could pay him only by sending the silver images of the saints, which 
stood in their church. 

These cunning friars thought the French commander would not 
dare to insist upon such a sacrifice; or, if he did, that by raising the 
cry of heresy against him, they could expose him to the vengeance 
of an ignorant and superstitious people. But De Legal had his troops 
at his back and cared little about destroying the images, and less about 
the rage of the priests and people. He therefore told the Dominicans 
that the silver saints would answer his purpose as well as money. 


Finding themselves caught, the friars tried to raise a mob, by carrying 
their images in solemn procession, accompanied by lighted candles. 
Aware of their intention. General de Legal ordered out four companies 
of soldiers, well armed, to march with the procession; so that the de¬ 
sign of raising the people completely failed. 

General de Legal seized the images and sent them to the mint to 
be melted up, which caused the friars great consternation. They called 
on the pope to use his supreme power to save their idols from the melt¬ 
ing-pot. This request was speedily complied with, and an order came 
excommunicating General de Legal for having been guilty of sacrilege. 
The paper was put into the hands of the secretary of the Holy Office, 
who was ordered to go and read it to the French commander. Gen¬ 
eral de Legal expressed neither displeasure nor surprise, but after 
hearing it read, calmly took the paper from the secretary, and mildly 
said, “ Pray tell your masters, the inquisitors, that I will answer them 
to-morrow morning.'’ 

The Frenchman was as good as his word. Having made a copy 
of the excommunication, with the mere alteration of inserting “the 
holy inquisitors,’^ instead of his own name, he sent a colonel and 
a regiment of soldiers with it to the Inquisition, with orders to read 
it to the inquisitors themselves; and if they made the least noise, to 
turn them out of doors, open all the prisons, and lodge the soldiers 
in the gloomy edifice. These orders were implicitly obeyed. Amazed 
and confounded to hear themselves excommunicated by a man who 
had no authority to do it, the inquisitors began to cry out against De 
Legal as a “ heretic.” “ Holy inquisitors,” replied the secretary, “ the 
king wants this house to quarter his troops in: so walk out imme¬ 
diately.” Having no alternative, the inquisitors were compelled to 
obey. Then the doors of all the prisons were thrown open, and four 
hundred poor prisoners set at liberty. 

The next day the inquisitors complained to Philip; but that mon¬ 
arch replied, “ I am very sorry, but I cannot help it; my crown is 



in danger. I called on the French king to help me defend it; and 
this is done by his troops. If it had been done by mine, I would 
apply a speedy remedy; but you must bear it patiently till things, 
take another turn.” This they were compelled to do for eight 
months, after which time Philip was firmly settled on his throne. 

Freemasons Attacked. 

Although Philip V. was not so devoted to the Inquisition as were 
the kings who ruled before him, he allowed autos de fe to be cele¬ 
brated, however it is said he never personally witnessed the bar¬ 
barous spectacle. It was in his reign that the society or brother¬ 
hood known as Freemasons became an object of persecution by 
the gloomy monks of the Spanish Inquisition. 

Pope Clement XIL excommunicated Freemasons in a bull which 
he issued, and two years after, Philip, in 1740, enacted several severe 
laws against all who were connected with that order, in consequence 
of which many of the fraternity were arrested and condemned to the 
galleys. Not to be left behind in any kind of cruelty or oppression, 
the inquisitors, also, seized every Freemason upon whom they could 
lay their hands; and, for a short time, seemed more eager to capture 
them than they had been to take heretics.” 

Decline of the Spanish Inquisition. 

Philip V. was succeeded by Ferdinand VI., during whose reign 
of thirteen years no great public a 7 ito de fe was held, and in all that 
time but ten persons were burned alive. The Inquisition was becom¬ 
ing less active and less powerful. Education began to be a little more 
general, and the circulation of good literature, made possible by the 
printing-press, aided in dispelling the dark cloud of superstition and 
cruelty which had so long brooded over this gloomy, blood-stained 
land. The Inquisition continued as an institution, however, until 
the invasion of Spain by Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1808; and the 



abdication of the throne by Charles IV. in favor of his son Ferdinand 
VII. gave it a fatal blow. In that year Napoleon suppressed the Holy 
Office at Chamastin, near Madrid; and acting under the directions 
of Joseph Bonaparte, Llorente burned up all the criminal records and 
books of the Inquisition, excepting those which belonged to history. 

On the 22d of February, 1813, the Cortes-general of the king¬ 
dom assembled at Madrid, and having decreed that the existence of 
the Inquisition was no longer in accord with the political constitution 
which had been adopted by the nation, that assembly finally suppressed 
the odious institution, and restored to the bishops and civil courts the 
jurisdiction which they had anciently enjoyed. 

Thus ended the tribunal which had oppressed the people of Spain 
for more than three hundred years, and which had shocked the whole 
civilized world by its outrageous cruelties, inflicted upon thousands 
of unfortunate victims. 

At a later date an effort was made to re-establish the Inquisition, 
but it was an institution which, it is needless to say, was not in accord¬ 
ance with the spirit of the nineteenth century— even in Spain ; so, 
although its courts were once re-opened, for a short time, by order 
of king Ferdinand VII., in 1814, it was with so much lessened 
authority that its powers for evil were scarcely to be feared. 



The Martyrdom of John Huss. 

John Huss, who is celebrated as the leader in an early attempt to 
reform the church in Bohemia, was born in the village of Hussenitz, 
about the year 1369. His parents were of the peasant class, but 
seem to have perceived his unusual powers of mind; providing him 
with teachers while at home, and sending him, as soon as he was 
old enough, to the university of Prague. Here Huss soon distin¬ 
guished himself, and some years after graduation he was chosen 
rector of Bethlehem chapel, which had been built and endowed by 
some pious citizens of Prague, for the purpose of providing a place 
for popular preaching in the Bohemian tongue. 

This appointment proved a singularly successful one; not only 
were many of Huss’ hearers benefited, but the work had a deep 
influence on the already vigorous religious life of Huss himself, lead¬ 
ing him to an earnest and independent study of the Scriptures. For a 
time his position did not affect his relations with the church of Rome, 
and for several years he continued to act in full accord with the arch¬ 
bishop. But Huss was too earnest a reformer to escape censure long; 
he entered into disputes with the priesthood, and soon the clergy of 
the city laid a complaint against him before the archbishop. He was 
deprived of his appointment of preacher, and forbidden to exercise 
any priestly office in Prague. 

Influence of Wycliffe’s Writings. 

The great English reformer and translator of the Scriptures, John 
Wycliffe, had by this time so kindled the light of reformation in 




England that it had begun to shine over many other parts of the 
world. Nowhere were his writings received with greater approval than 
in Prague, by John Huss, and his friend Jerome. The archbishop, 
becoming alarmed at the spread of the new doctrines, forbade their 
circulation, but this had no effect in lessening their popularity; in¬ 
deed, it seemed rather to increase it. Soon, almost every student at 
the university was familiar with them, and many were warm upholders 
of Wycliffe’s views. 

The archbishop then sent to Rome and obtained a bull (or signed 
and sealed order), from the pope, authorizing him to prevent the 
reading of Wycliffe’s books in Bohemia. By virtue of this bull, he 
arrested four doctors of divinity who had not delivered up some copies, 
and forbade them to preach. Against these proceedings, John Huss 
and some others protested, and entered an appeal from the sentences 
of the archbishop. The pope no sooner heard of this, than he 
commanded Huss to appear at the court of Rome, to answer accu¬ 
sations of heresy. From this appearance Huss desired to be excused, 
and so greatly was he liked in Bohemia, that king Winceslaus, the 
queen, the nobility, and the university interceded for him; therefore, 
for the time, he retired in safety to Hussenitz, his native village. 
While there he wrote a tract in which he argued that the pope had 
no right to forbid the reading of books protesting against abuses in 
the church. He also wrote in defence of Wycliffe’s book on the 
Trinity; and boldly declared against the vices of the pope, the car¬ 
dinals, and the clergy of those corrupt times. 

But the grim spectre of persecution was now stretching forth its 
blood-stained hand over England, and was soon to grasp Germany 
and Bohemia. Huss and Jerome of Prague were selected as special 
victims for the wrath of Rome; but knowing well their danger, 
neither of these men would venture out of Prague. Strategy was 
therefore necessary in order to take them; and an opportunity for 
Huss’s treacherous seizure soon came. 



A general council was assembled at Constance, in Germany, for 
the purpose of settling a dispute between three persons, each of whom 
wanted to be pope. These were John, proposed by the Italians; * 
Gregory, by the French; and Benedict, by the Spaniards. 

John Huss was summoned to appear at this council; and to 
allay any suspicions he might have, they sent him a safe-conduct, 
signed by the emperor, giving him permission freely to go to, and 
return from the council. On receiving this order, he told the per¬ 
sons who delivered it, '' That he desired nothing better than to clear 
himself publicly of the charge of heresy; and that he was happy in 
now having an opportunity to do so at the council.'' 

Huss Starts for Constance. 

Accordingly Huss set out for Constance, accompanied by two 
Bohemian noblemen, who were his scholars, and who followed him 
merely through respect and affection. Before leaving Prague he 
caused some writings to be fixed upon the doors of the churches in 
the city, in which he announced that he went to the council to 
answer all charges that might be made against him. He also de¬ 
clared, in every city through which he passed, that he was going to 
vindicate himself at Constance, and invited all his adversaries to be 

On his way he met with every mark of affection and reverence 
from the people. The streets, and even the roads, were thronged, 
and he was received into the towns, with great ceremony. In fact, he 
passed through Germany in a kind of triumph. '' I thought," said 
he, '' I had been an outcast. I now see I have friends everywhere 
but at home." 

When Huss reached Constance, he took lodgings in a quiet part 
of the city. Soon after, Stephen Paletz, who was engaged by the 
clergy at Prague to manage the intended prosecution against him, 
arrived also. Paletz was afterward joined by Michael de Cassis, 



on the part of the court of Rome. These two declared themselves 
his accusers, and drew up articles against him, which they presented 
to the pope, and the prelates of the council. 

Huss IS Arrested by Order of the Council. 

And now his enemies began to show their hands. In spite of the 
safe-conduct to and from Constance which he had received, he was 
arrested and thrown into a dungeon. While he was thus confined, 
the council passed resolutions condemning Wycliffe and his doc¬ 
trines, and even went so far in their malice as to direct that the 
body of the English reformer, who had been some time dead, should 
be dug up and burned. 

While this was going on, the friends of Huss were not idle. The 
nobility of Bohemia and Poland used all their interest for him; and 
their efforts at least prevented his being condemned unheard, as had 
first been proposed by the commissioners appointed to try him. Be¬ 
fore his trial took place, his enemies employed a Franciscan friar to 
go and treacherously ask advice of the prisoner, and then testify against 
him. This man cunningly came to Huss one day, in the disguise of 
a student, and with seeming sincerity requested to be taught his doc¬ 
trines.. But Huss suspected him, and told him that his manners wore 
a great semblance of simplicity, but that his questions discovered a 
depth and design beyond the reach of any ignorant person. He 
afterward found this pretended scholar to be Didace, one of the 
most learned monks of Lombardy. 

At length Huss was brought before the council, when the articles 
against him were read: they were upwards of forty in number, and 
chiefly extracted from his writings. On his examination being 
finished, he was taken from the court, and a resolution was passed 
by the council to burn him as a heretic, unless he retracted. He 
was then locked up in a dark and filthy cell, and in the day-time 
was so laden with fetters on his legs that he could hardly move, 



while at night he was fastened by his hands to a great iron ring, which 
was riveted into the wall. 

After he had remained for some days in this wretched state, many 
of the nobles and people of Bohemia sent a petition to the council 
begging for his release; but no attention was paid to it. 

Finally four bishops and two lawyers were sent to the prison to 
persuade Huss to make a recantation. But he called God to witness 
that he was not conscious of having preached, or written, anything 
against the faith of his orthodox church. The deputies then desired 
him to remember the great wisdom and authority of the council: to 
which Huss replied, Let them send to me the meanest member of 
that council, and if he can convince me by argument from the word 
of God, I will acknowledge that I have been in the wrong.” 

As Huss would not yield to the council without argument, the 
deputies left him, greatly astonished at his firmness. 

Huss IS Condemned to Death. 

Huss was at length brought for the last time before his accusers. 
After a long examination, he was called on to recant. This he refused 
to do, without the least hesitation. The bishop of Lodi then preached 
a sermon, the text of which was, Let the body of sin be destroyed,” 
and applied it as justifying the destruction of heretics. After the close 
of the sermon judgment was pronounced. The council condemned 
Huss as being '' obstinate and incorrigible,” and fixed as his punish¬ 
ment, '' That he should be degraded from the priesthood, his books 
publicly burned, and himself delivered to the civil power for execution.” 

Huss received the sentence without showing the least fear ; and at 
the close of it, kneeled down with his eyes lifted toward heaven, and, 
with all a martyr’s heroism exclaimed : May thy infinite mercy, O 
God! pardon this injustice of my enemies.” 

Those appointed for the purpose by the council now stripped him 
of his priestly garments, degraded him, and put a paper mitre on his 




head, on which devils were painted with this inscription: ring¬ 

leader of heretics.” This mockery was borne by the martyr with 
a resignation and dignity that triumphed over the ignominious garb 
he was compelled to wear. 

The ceremony of degradation being over, the bishops delivered the 
prisoner to the emperor, who committed him to the care of the duke 
of Bavaria. His books were burned at the gate of the church; and 
he himself was led outside the city of Constance to the place of 
execution. When he had come there he fell on his knees, looked 
steadfastly toward heaven, and said, “ Into thy hands, O Lord! do 
I commit my spirit.” 

When the fagots had been piled around Huss, the duke of Bavaria 
begged the doomed man, for the last time, to recant '' No,” firmly 
replied the martyr, “ I have never preached any false doctrine; and 
that which I have taught with my lips, I will now seal with my 

It is told of this heroic martyr that, when the fagots were lighted, 
he sang a hymn, with so loud and cheerful a voice that he was 
heard through all the cracklings of the wood, and the noise of the 

multitude. At length his voice was interrupted by the flames, which 

soon put an end to his life. This took place in July, 1415; the 

event was soon to be followed by another no less dreadful. 

The Story of Jerome of Prague. 

Jerome, the friend of Huss and his fellow-martyr in the cause of 
the Reformation in Bohemia, was educated at the university of Prague. 

Having completed his studies, he travelled over a great part of 
Europe, and visited many of the seats of learning, particularly the 
universities of Paris, Heidelburg, Cologne, and Oxford—England. 
At the latter place he became familiar with the writings of Wycliffe, 
and translated them into his own language. On his return to Prague, 
he openly professed the doctrines of Wycliffe, and finding that Huss 



had already introduced them in Bohemia, he became his assistant in 
the work of reformation. 

After Huss had been seized and put in prison at Constance, Jerome 
went there secretly to try and aid him in escaping. But finding that he 
could render his friend no service, and being himself in danger, he 
left Constance, and went to the town of Iberling, a short distance 
away. While there, Jerome wrote to the emperor, and declared his 
readiness to appear before the council, if a safe-conduct were granted 
him; but this request was refused. He then had notices posted up in all 
the public places at Constance, particularly on the doors of the cardi¬ 
nals’ houses. In these he testified his willingness to appear at Con¬ 
stance in defence of his character and doctrine, both of which, he 
said, had been much abused. He further declared, that if any error 
should be proved against him, he would retract it; desiring only that 
the faith of the council might be given him as security for his personal 

Receiving no answer to these papers, he set out on his return to 
Bohemia, taking the precaution to carry with him a certificate, signed 
by several of the Bohemian nobility then at Constance, testifying that 
he had used every prudent means in his power to get a hearing. But 
he was stopped on his way, at Hirsaw, by the duke of Sultzbach, who 
shut him up in his castle. The duke hoped, by performing a ser¬ 
vice so acceptable to the council, to win their favor; and in this, as 
the event proved, he was not disappointed. 

Jerome is Put in the Stocks. 

The council immediately sent its thanks to the duke for having 
made Jerome prisoner, and requested him to send his captive, without 
delay, to Constance. Jerome was, therefore, loaded with irons like a 
dangerous criminal, and hurried to the council-chamber. After an 
examination he was taken to a dungeon and his legs put in the stocks, 
from which he hung head downward until life was almost gone. At 



last, to preserve him for further punishment, his persecutors released 
him from his dreadful position and shut him up in a dungeon. 

Jerome remained in prison until the martyrdom of his friend Huss; 
after which he was again brought before the council and threatened 
with the same punishment if he refused to retract all he had said or 
written against the church of Rome. Terrified at the awful fate of 
Huss, Jerome, in a moment of weakness, forgot his resolution, con¬ 
fessed that Huss merited his fate, and admitted that both Wycliffe and 
himself had been heretics. In consequence of this he was treated 
more kindly for a time. 

Jerome is Brought to Trial, and Condemned. 

But Jerome’s enemies suspected his sincerity, and required of him 
that he should publicly deny, in the strongest terms, all the heresies 
of which he had been accused. He was brought before the council 
for this purpose, when, to the astonishment of all, he took back, all he 
had confessed to, and asked permission to plead his own cause. This 
was refused, and he was accused of being a derider of the papal dig¬ 
nity, an opposer of the pope, an enemy to the cardinals, and a hater 
of the Christian religion. To these charges Jerome answered with 
amazing eloquence and strength of argument; but for all this he 
was sent back to his prison. 

Once again Jerome was brought before the council, and once more 
his appeals for justice rang out with such persuasive force as should 
have melted the hardest of hearts ; but it was of no avail, cruelty and 
intolerance won the day, and he received the same sentence that had 
been pronounced upon his martyred friend and fellow-countryman, 
John Huss. For two days his execution was delayed, it being sup¬ 
posed he would recant. The cardinal of Florence used his utmost 
endeavors to bring him over; but all was in vain—Jerome had re¬ 
solved to confirm his doctrine with his blood. 

On his way to the place of burning he appeared of cheerful coun- 




tenance, and on arriving there, knelt down and prayed. He then 
approached the stake with calmness, and when the executioner went 
behind him to set fire to the fagots, he cried, Come here, and kindle 
it before my eyes; for had I been afraid of it, I had not been here.” 

We are told that Jerome was ^ man of ''goodly presence ” and in 
the full vigor of life at the time of his burning. Until the last, when 
he was hidden from men’s sight by flame and smoke, he appeared 
to them unshaken in spirit, and of a good courage. 



Martin Luther. 

One of the greatest names in religious history is that of Martin 
Luther. Although he was providentially spared the fate which over¬ 
took so many of the reformers, he fearlessly risked his life many 
times during his battle with the church. 

Martin Luther was born at Eisleben, a town in Upper Saxony, in 
1483. His father was a poor man who worked in an iron mine. 
When Martin was fourteen years old he was sent to school at 
Magdeburg, and afterward to the university at Erfurt, to which he 
was very glad to go, as he was ambitious to learn. One day, while 
in the college library, he took a book from the shelf that he had 
never seen before; it was a Bible, printed in Latin, which language 
Luther had, by this time, learned to read. He took it down and 
began to turn over the pages ; he found the book so interesting that 
he came back, day after day, until he had read the greater part of 
the sacred volume. This was his first acquaintance with the book 
which was to have so important an influence on his life. 

Luther Enters a Monastery. 

When Luther was twenty-one years old he determined to enter 
a monastery, a religious house, and become a monk—for at this time 
he was a strict adherent to the Romish faith and never dreamed of 
^ questioning any of the acts or institutions of the church. Monks 
upon entering a monastery were obliged to give up everything they 

owned—even their names were no longer the same as before ; Luther 




was therefore now called Augustine; in fact, Luther in the univer¬ 
sity and Luther in the monastery were like two different persons. 
The monks were glad to get him among them; for they had heard 
of his great talents. 

After Luther had been in the monastery two years he was ordained 
a priest and went to preach at Wittemberg. He stayed there a year 
and was then sent to Rome on business of the monastery. Now 
Luther had always thought Rome a very holy city, but what was his 
surprise to find that the nearer he approached the head of the church 
the more luxurious, self-indulgent, and irreligious the priesthood be¬ 
came. Luther believed that the service of the mass was acceptable to 
God, and he was shocked by the godless character of the priests who 
sometimes performed this service, and the careless way in which they 
hurried through it. They even called out to him, when he took part 
in the ceremony, “ Make haste, make haste,” for they thought him 
too slow. 

Luther Astonished by What He Sees at Rome. 

Luther’s visit to Rome opened his eyes to the worldliness of the 
church. He was also filled with indignation at the scandalous sale 
of indulgences to sin, authorized by pope Leo X. in order to raise 
money. When Luther saw this traffic in the church of Wittemberg, 
after he returned there, he protested that it was wrong ; and writing 
a paper bitterly denouncing the practice, he nailed it to the church 
door. He also wrote a book containing powerful arguments against 
this and other abuses which he saw existed in the church. 

Astounded at this rebellion on the part of a monk, the chief of 
the Dominican order publicly burned Luther’s writings, and the 
pope commanded him to come to Rome for trial. Luther refused 
to go, and his arrest was then attempted, but he escaped, and under 
the protection of the elector of Saxony commenced his famous strug¬ 
gle against the church, which lasted during the whole of his life, and 



was destined to bring about a religious revolution not only in Ger¬ 
many, but throughout Christendom. 

Luther’s Contest with the Church of Rome. 

Luther was wonderfully well fitted for such a contest. By nature 
he was bold, energetic, and untiring. His eloquence was earnest and 
soul-stirring, and his capacity for ceaseless work remarkable. With 
all the enthusiasm of his nature he threw himself into the struggle, 
writing and preaching continuously. Denying all authority but the 
Holy Scriptures, he denounced the papacy and its practices. The 
pope was not idle during this time; many efforts were made to seize 
him, but Luther was popular with the people, who believed in his 
cause; he had powerful friends too, who helped him to escape 
from his persecutors. Alarmed at his growing influence, the pope 
solemnly excommunicated Luther for heresy, and ordered all his 
writings to be burned. In defiance of this attack, Luther publicly 
burned the pope’s bull of excommunication in the streets of Wittem- 

After this bold act Luther was summoned before the council, or 
Diet, at Worms, and refusing to retract was declared an outlaw. He 
escaped from Worms and lay concealed for nine months, but during 
this time he was not idle, for he translated the New Testament 
into the German language. It is said of him that he labored at this 
work with tireless industry. During the nine months of seclusion 
he not only translated the New Testament, but also took great pains 
to improve his knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, for the purpose of 
making his intended version of the Scriptures more accurate. Writ¬ 
ing to a friend, he says, “ I find translating the whole Bible is above 
my strength; I shall not touch the Old Testament till I can have the 
assistance of yourself and my other friends at Wittemberg. If it were 
possible that I could be with you, and remain undisturbed in a snug 
chamber, I would come, and then, with your help, would translate the 



whole from the beginning, that at length there might be a version of 
the Bible fit for Christians to read. This would be a great work, of 
immense value to the people, and worthy of every effort we can 

But the light of the gospel which Luther had kindled was burning 
brighter and brighter throughout Germany. Especially was this the 
case at his old home in Wittemberg. Thirteen of the monks left the 
monastery in that place in one day, and sought employment; working 
with their own hands for their living, at various trades. 

Disturbances Put Down by Luther. 

Some of the monks, however, remained in their cells, and the 
prior, in the hope of quieting the people, who made threats against 
them, gave orders that no more private masses should be celebrated. 
This was soon known in the town, and caused great excitement. 
The townspeople said, If it be wrong to have private masses in 
the convent, it is equally wrong to allow them in the parish church.” 
So, one day, just as mass was about to be performed, some of the 
most violent broke into the church, made their way to the altar, and 
carried off the books. The frightened priests fled away to save their 
lives. After this riotous outbreak other churches were broken open, 
and the images of saints carried off and burned. Some students who 
had taken part in these disturbances were from Erfurt, and they were 
immediately arrested, but were soon after released. 

When Luther heard of this violence he was much troubled. At 
the risk of his life he left the castle in which he had found refuge, 
and returned to Wittemberg. The next day was Sunday. Early 
in the morning, the news, Luther is come back; he will preach to¬ 
day,” was passed from one to another. Crowds filled the church to 
hear his sermon, in which he spoke upon all the subjects which had 
been matters of dispute, and sternly rebuked the rioters who had 
broken into the churches, carried off images by force, and committed 



other acts of violence. His influence was so great that the tumult 
soon subsided and peace and order were restored. 

Luther’s Translations of the Scriptures. 

Luther could now devote himself to his great work of translating 
the Bible into German. When this was done, the printing was at once 
begun and soon three thousand copies of the New Testament were 
completed. This being finished, Luther immediately began the trans¬ 
lation of the Old Testament. Great was the indignation of the pope 
when he heard of it, and in many parts of Germany, all who had 
bought copies of the Scriptures were commanded to give them up to 
be burned. 

Before this time Luther had written a tract, in which he proved 
from the Bible that the church of Rome was wrong in saying, “ It 
is unlawful for the clergy to marry.” Marriage is God’s appoint¬ 
ment,” he said, '‘and therefore no man has a right to forbid it to 
any one.” In consequence of this, many convents in Germany were 
deserted; the monks having left them and married. Luther himself 
determined to follow their example. He married Catharine Bora, 
who had formerly been a nun. Their life together was extremely 
happy, as they were of one heart and one mind. Their favorite 
recreation was sacred music, in which both excelled, and it is said 
that, morning and evening, they might be seen seated at the window 
which looked into their beautiful garden, while they sang together 
some sacred song. They had six children whom they brought up 
in the faith for which they had endured so much. 

Among the writings of Luther which have been preserved is the 
following tender letter to his little son John : 

‘^To My Dear Little Son, 

“ Grace and peace to you in Christ J?sus, my dear little child : I 
perceive, with pleasure, that you are making good progress in your 

2 So 


learning, and that you now give attention to your prayers. Continue 
to do so, my dear child, and when I return home I will give you 
beautiful things. I know a lovely and smiling garden, full of chil¬ 
dren, dressed in robes of gold, who play under the trees with beau¬ 
tiful apples, pears, cherries, nuts, and prunes. They sing, they leap, 
they are all joyful ; there are also beautiful little ponies, with bridles 
of gold and saddles of silver. In passing through the garden, I 
asked a man what it meant, and who were the children. He replied, 
‘ These are the children who love to pray, and to learn, who are pious 
and good children.’ I said to him, ‘ Dear friend, I have also a child, 
his name is little John Luther; might he not also come here, and eat 
these apples and pears, ride on these beautiful ponies, and play with 
the other children ?’ The man replied to me, ' If your child, your 
dear little John Luther, is wise, if he says his prayers, and learns 
willingly, he may come, and he may bring little Philip and James 
Melancthon with him.’ I then said to the man, ‘ Dear sir, I intend 
to write immediately to my dear little John, and I will tell him to be 
a good boy, to pray and learn well, that he may be permitted to come 
to this garden. He has a dear little sister, whom he loves very much; 
her name is Madeline; may he bring her with him ?’ The man replied, 
‘ Yes, tell him they may both come together.’ Be wise, then, my dear 
little boy; tell Philip and James to be wise also, and you will all be 
allowed to visit and play in this beautiful garden. I commend my 
dear child to the protection of God. Salute Madeline, and give her 
a kiss for me. 

(<< Wi'itten igth Jtine^ 1530 .”) 

“ Your father, who loves you, 

“ Martin Luther.” 

Although the struggle lasted for years, the Reformation made 
steady progress, and during the last twenty years of the great re¬ 
former’s life he had the satisfaction of seeing the principles he had 
so boldly upheld adopted by a great part of the people of Germany. 

Martin Luther died, surrounded by sorrowing friends, in 1546, in 


28 \ 

the sixty-third year of his age. His tomb is at VVitteniberg, the city 
where so large a part of his eventful and laborious life was passed. 

Luther’s Success and its Causes. 

The extraordinary success of Luther was not, however, wholly 
due to his powers of eloquence and persuasion; however great these 
may have been, their influence would have been insufficient had not 
the time been ripe for a change. A large part of the Christian world 
desired to escape from the papal yoke, and the awakening intelligence 
of the people brought with it a consciousness of the spiritual tyranny 
which had so long oppressed them. Luther preached the doctrine of 
personal responsibility in the matter of religion, and opposed the 
assumed infallibility of the church of Rome. The success of the 
new doctrine proved that Europe was ready for revolt, and to Luther 
must be given the glory of striking the first victorious blow. For 
though Wycliffe and Huss strained the chain which held both mind 
and body of man in bondage, yet it was Luther who first broke its 
links, and encouraged humanity to aspire to a religious and political 
independence that had never been dreamed of before his time. 

Among the supporters of Luther were kings and princes who 
longed to throw off the despotic rule of the pope. The sovereigns 
of Sweden and Denmark, besides those of German principalities, 
strongly sustained him; and after many struggles a treaty was signed 
at Nuremburg in 1532, between the Lutheran princes and Charles V., 
emperor of Germany. Liberty of conscience was thus formally con¬ 
ceded to the followers of the reformed religion, who were generally 
known as '' Protestants ” from having protested against the domination 
and the usages of the church of Rome. 



For centuries France had been the battle-ground of the Roman 
church and the sects opposed to it. We have seen how the Wal- 
denses and the Albigenses suffered in the struggle; their cities were 
taken, their homes destroyed, and themselves slain by thousands; so 
that only a few scattered remnants remained of a once numerous and 
prosperous people. But though victorious in the field, the church 
could not wholly subjugate consciences and hearts; and for three 
hundred years after the taking of the city of Bezieres the races of 
southern France always showed themselves ready to join any move¬ 
ment looking toward religious reform, until finally they were merged 
into the great Huguenot party. 

The advance of French Protestantism, which became in 1530 such 
a power as to seem, for a short time, likely to prevail even at the court 
of king Francis I., was largely influenced by the tracts of Martin 
Luther protesting against the abuses of the Roman Church, and by 
the preaching of German, Swiss, and English reformers. John Calvin, 
a native of Picardy, in northern France, who was a student of the 
Scriptures and a man of powerful intellect, also gave his support to 
the movement, and going to Paris, by his eloquence led many of the 
common people to question the authority of the church of Rome. 

But the king, alarmed at the number of Calvin’s followers, and by 
their disorderly violence which showed itself in destroying the art 
treasures of the church, threw his whole influence on the side of 
Rome. He was partly moved to this by the adroit persuasions of 

the papal representative, who convinced him that a change of religion 



in France could not take place without a revolution in the government. 
In the persecution which fohowed Calvin and others prominent in the 
reform party were obliged to flee from France to save their lives. 

The Huguenots Establish Churches. 

During the years which followed, periods of persecution were re¬ 
lieved by times of rest, and even protection, in which the French re¬ 
formers began to establish their infant churches. They had previously 
been content to meet in secret, to sing hymns, and listen to earnest 
prayer and practical preaching in some lowly shelter that would not 
awaken the suspicions of their enemies. 

The first French Huguenot church in Paris was established in the 
year 1555, and almost immediately afterward there sprang up fifteen 
other congregations, the largest being those of the cities of Meaux, 
Poitiers, and Angers—each having its pastors, elders and deacons, and 
each ruling itself and recognizing no bond of fellowship except that 
of charity and suffering. These were the heroic days of the French 
Protestant, or Huguenot movement. Unfortunately for France, as 
their numbers and wealth increased, the Huguenots became so im¬ 
portant a political force that powerful nobles and great lords joined 
them merely to gain the leadership, and to use their power for their 
own self-advancement. 

During the reign of Henry II. the Huguenots gathered such 
strength as to entertain hopes of becoming the strongest political 
party of the realm. What made this seem more likely was the fact 
that several of the reigning family of France, such as the king of 
Navarre, and his brother, the Prince de Conde; many of the nobility, 
such as the Chatillons and Admiral Coligni, favored the Reformation. 
From this admixture of political faction in the party of religious re¬ 
form arose unsuccessful attempts on the part of its leaders to control 
the government. In Francis IP’s reign a conspiracy was even formed 
to seize the king, at the castle of Amboise; and the plot being dis- 



covered, thousands of innocent Huguenots suffered for the crimes of 
their leaders, in the persecution which followed. King Francis 11 . 
died in 1560, and his brother, a boy ten years of age, became king 
with the title of Charles IX. On account of his youth, his mother, 
Catharine de Medici, was appointed regent, and under her rule the 
persecution of the Protestants was carried on with renewed ferocity. 
Resistance by armed bodies of Huguenots followed, and there raged 
a religious war, which with intervals of peace lasted eight years; the 
struggle being marked by frequent massacres and assassinations. 

Catharine de Medici, the mother of the king, and the real power 
behind the throne, was a woman who hesitated at no act of cruelty 
or treachery that would gratify her ambition or her hate. When she 
took the lead in state affairs, falsehood became her chief weapon; for 
perceiving her own weakness among the warring parties, she planned, 
with true Italian craft, to play one against the other, and in cariying 
out this policy showed all the falseness and cunning of her evil nature. 
But the balance between two such hostile elements could not long be 
preserved; the massacre of a Huguenot congregation at Vassy caused 
war to break out, and several bloody battles were fought, in most of 
which the Huguenots held their own. Their increasing power alarmed 
Catharine, and as open warfare had failed to keep them in check, she 
determined to use her favorite weapons, falsehood and deceit. Appar¬ 
ently changing from her former attitude of cold distrust she gave out 
that liberty of worship would be granted the Huguenots, and to further 
allay any suspicions that might be aroused by this unlooked-for indul¬ 
gence, a marriage was arranged between the sister of the king and the 
commander of the Huguenot army, Henry of Navarre. 

The guilty Catharine well knew that the marriage of their leader, 
which was to be celebrated with great magnificence, would draw to 
Paris thousands of Huguenots — and she intended to murder them all 
at a blow! To carry out such a terrible scheme of slaughter Catha¬ 
rine needed help, and she confided her secret to several leaders of her 



party. She told them a conspiracy had been discovered in which 
the Huguenots had determined to seize the government, and that 
only by a general massacre could their design be overcome. 

The night fixed upon for attacking the unsuspecting people was 
that of August 24, 1572; it was the eve of the church feast of St. 
Bartholomew, and therefore the dreadful event became known to his¬ 
tory as the massacre of St. Bartholomew. 

Preparations for the Massacre. 

Preparations quietly began to be made for the bloody work. Sev¬ 
eral regiments of soldiers were brought into Paris and arms distributed. 
Rumors of these preparations reached the Huguenots, and suspicion 
began to be awakened that all was not right; but no plot could be 
discovered, and fears were gradually allayed. The king, Charles IX., 
who, like his mother, was false and treacherous, invited Admiral 
Coligni, the most beloved of the great Huguenot leaders, to his 
palace, and treated him with the greatest courtesy. He told him 
that the soldiers had been brought into Paris to prevent rioting by 
the opposite party. Believing the king spoke the truth, Coligni, 
who had himself been selected as the first victim, continued to 
walk unsuspectingly about the streets of • the city. 

On August 22d, as Coligni was passing a church, he was struck 
by two bullets fired by a hidden assassin—a criminal lately condemned 
to death but spared for the purpose of murdering the admiral. The 
search made for him was useless, as he had fled by a back door and 
found shelter in a house prepared for him by the duke of Guise, the 
leader of the party opposed to the Huguenots. One of the bullets 
wounded Coligni’s shoulder, and the other broke a finger. This 
cowardly crime caused a great commotion in Paris. The wounded 
man was carried to a hotel and his hurts were looked to by the 
king’s surgeon; Coligni was even visited by the king himself, who pro¬ 
fessed great sorrow for his injury, and promised to find and punish 



the assassin. Under the pretence of protecting him from further at¬ 
tacks, but really to make sure of their victim, the court party placed 
a guard of fifty soldiers around the hotel in which Coligni lay, and 
closed the street by stretching chains across it. 

Coligni’s friends, the leading Huguenots, were also persuaded to 
move their lodgings near the admiral’s, being told that they could 
thus be protected from any tumult that might arise in the city. The 
king placed a guard in the neighborhood to defend them, and all the 
gates of the town, except two, were closed. The real object of this 
was to prevent any Huguenots of rank from escaping; for when 
crowded together they were more easily watched; and in carrying 
out the murderous plan, the king seems to have recalled to mind 
the saying of Alaric, “ The thicker the grass, the more quickly it is 

The Massacre of St. Bartholomew. 

The day before the massacre was a time of terrible suspense to the 
king and his mother. As the fatal hour approached the king became 
unnerved and seemed uncertain whether or not to strike the blow. 
Catharine saw that he wavered, and entreated him not to hesitate. 
She said messengers had already been sent by the Huguenots to 
Germany and Switzerland for troops, and that if another war broke 
out his ruin would be sure. The wretched king, who usually fol¬ 
lowed blindly the impulse of the moment, was alarmed at this ap¬ 
parent danger to his throne, and became more eager than the others 
to push on the bloody work. 

Plans were soon made: the duke of Guise was to begin the mas¬ 
sacre by murdering Coligni the moment he heard the tolling of a 
bell. The signal for the dreadful work to begin was to be the ring¬ 
ing of the great bell of the palace, which was used only on public re¬ 
joicings. In the meantime orders were sent to the militia to arm, and 
at midnight march to the Hotel de Ville. Some made excuses, but 
the king told them that if they refused they should all be hanged; 



alarmed by this threat, the men yielded, and promised to do such ex¬ 
ecution as would never be forgotten,—and well they kept their word. 

The orders the soldiers received were, that as soon as they heard 
the ringing of the bell, torches were to be put in the windows of all 
their houses, and chains placed across the streets; sentries were to be 
posted in the open places; and, as a uniform, the murderers were to 
wear a piece of white linen on their left arms, and to place a white 
cross on their hats. 

In spite of the awful crime about to be committed, the king rode 
out on horseback in the afternoon, the sight of his peaceful, unsus¬ 
pecting people seeming to have no effect upon him. The queen also 
showed herself at court as usual in order to avoid suspicion. 

The secret was kept till the last moment, and no one was told of 
the plan who was not necessary to its execution. But there were sev¬ 
eral persons in the king’s own household who caused great anxiety to 
both the king and queen. One of these was the queen of Navarre; she 
knew nothing of the butchery soon to begin, and prepared to go to bed. 
Her sister, the duchess of Lorraine, who knew what would take place, 
begged her not to go. The queen was angry at this, and forbade her 
telling anything further. The duchess of Lorraine said she feared that 
her sister would be killed in her bed by the assassins, but the queen 
replied that if she did not go it might cause suspicion, and added 
that, “ If it pleased God, no harm would befall her.” 

Another member of the king’s company was the count De la 
Rochefaucault; he was a great favorite with Charles, who took such 
pleasure in his society, that he wished to save his life. He had 
passed the evening with the king, and when he prepared to go 
home, Charles advised him to sleep in the Louvre. In vain did 
he press him; the count was determined to go. The king was 
grieved that he could not save him without violating his secret, 
but said resignedly, as his guest went away to his death, I see 
clearly that God would have him perish.” 



Ambrose Pare, the king’s Protestant surgeon, was a person neces¬ 
sary to the king’s health and comfort, and he used less ceremony 
with him. He sent for him in the evening to come into his cham¬ 
ber, and ordered him not to stir out of it. “For,” said he, “it is 
not reasonable to think that one so useful to me should be killed— 
no matter what may be his religion.” 

As midnight approached, the armed companies gathered together 
before the Hotel de Ville. But they required some strong excite¬ 
ment to rouse their passions and make them eager for deeds of 
blood. In order to enrage them, they were told that a horrible con¬ 
spiracy had just been discovered, made by the Huguenots against 
the lives of the king, the queen-mother, and the princes. That the 
king wished his loyal subjects to put down so wicked a plot, and 
commanded them to fall upon those cursed heretics, who were rebels 
against God and the king, without sparing man, woman, or child. 
Afterward the property of the traitors would be given up to be 
plundered. This was enough for ignorant and excitable men who 
hated the Huguenots, and looked upon them as their natural ene¬ 
mies. Everything being thus arranged, they impatiently waited the 
dawn, and the signal which was to come with it. 

The wretched king of France had gone so far, that retreat was 
impossible; but there is good reason to believe that at the last mo¬ 
ment he would gladly have desisted from his cruel purpose. Even 
murderers, it is commonly found, will hesitate to commit the crime 
unless passion urges them on. The hesitation, therefore, which 
Charles displayed was natural, and there is evidence that, too late, 
he sent orders to prevent the massacre from taking place. But the 
queen had perceived his change of mood. She saw that if the sig¬ 
nal depended upon him, he would not have resolution enough to 
give it; so she quickly decided the hour that had been fixed for it 
must be changed, and made earlier, or this unlooked-for remorse 
might prevent the bloody work. She therefore made another effort 



to inflame her son, by telling him that the Huguenots had discovered 
their plot. Immediately after uttering this falsehood she sent a mes¬ 
senger to ring the bell of St. Germain,—the time being a full hour ear¬ 
lier than that agreed upon. A few moments after, the report of a 
pistol was heard, which had such a startling effect on the king, that 
he sent orders to prevent the massacre, but it was then too late. 

Murder of Admiral Coligni. 

The duke of Guise, who had waited impatiently for the signal, 
went at once to Coligni’s house, accompanied by his brother and a 
number of gentlemen. Cosseins, who had charge of the soldiers posted 
there, and some of his men, broke open the doors in the king’s name, 
and murdered the Swiss guards that had been stationed at the bot¬ 
tom of the stairs. They then ran through the house seeking the 
admiral, followed by a number of their men. 

Coligni, awakened by the noise, asked one of his attendants what it 
was. The man replied, My lord, God calls us to himself” Coligni 
then said to his attendants, ” Save yourselves, my friends; all is over 
with me. I have long been prepared for death.” They then all left him 
but one; and the admiral betook himself to prayer, awaiting his mur¬ 
derers. Every door was soon broken open, and an assassin entered 
the chamber. ” Art thou Coligni ?” said the murderer. “ I am he, 
indeed,” said the admiral; young man, you ought to respect my 
gray hairs; but do what you will, you can shorten my life only by 
a few days.” The assassin, whose name was Besme, answered by 
plunging his sword into Coligni’s body; his companions then rushed 
upon the dying man and stabbed him with their daggers. 

Besme then called out of the wundow to Guise, ” We have done 
it.” It is well,” replied he; “ but we will not believe it, unless we 
see him at our feet.” The corpse was then thrown out of the win¬ 
dow into the court-yard, and the blood of the man thus basely assas¬ 
sinated, spurted out on the faces and clothes of his murderers. Guise 



wiped the blood from the dead man’s face to see if it was really the 
admiral, and then gave orders to cut off his head. 

Beginning of the Massacre. 

The ringing of the bell of St. Germain was answered by the bells 
of all the churches, and by a discharge of fire-arms in different parts 
of the city. Paris resounded with savage yells and howls which 
brought multitudes of terror-stricken people out of their lodging- 
places, not only unarmed, but many of them half dressed. Some 
tried to go to Coligni’s house for protection, but the soldiers killed 
them before they could move scarcely a step. The palace of the 
Louvre seemed to hold out a refuge, but the frightened people were 
driven away from there also by men armed with swords and guns. 

Escape was almost impossible; the numerous lights that had, with 
fiendish cunning, been placed in the windows deprived the fugitives of 
the shelter which darkness would have afforded. Bands of murderers 
swept the streets in all directions, killing every one they met. From 
the streets they rushed into the houses; they broke open the doors, 
and spared neither age, sex, nor condition. A white cross had been 
put in the hats of the armed ruffians to distinguish them. Even some 
priests took part in the bloody work; and going ahead of the mur¬ 
derers urged them, in God’s name, to spare none. 

When daylight appeared, Paris presented a most appalling scene of 
slaughter. Headless bodies were hanging from the windows; gate¬ 
ways were blocked up with the dead and dying; and whole streets 
were filled with mutilated corpses. Even the palace of the Louvre 
was the scene of great carnage: the guards were drawn up around 
it, and the unfortunate Huguenots in the palace were called out, 
one after another, and killed with the soldiers’ halberts. Most of 
them died without complaining, or even speaking; but some appealed 
to the public faith and the sacred promises of the king. Great God!” 
said they, “defend the oppressed. Just Judge! avenge this cruelty.” 


2 g2 


Even the king of Navarre’s servants, who lived in the palace, were 
killed as they lay sleeping in bed with their wives. 

The duke of Guise and his companions, Tavannes, Montpensier, 
and Angouleme, rode through the streets, encouraging the murderers. 
Guise told them that it was the king’s command to kill the very last 
one of the heretics, and to crush the race of vipers. Tavannes fero¬ 
ciously exclaimed, “ Bleed! bleed! The doctors tell us that bleeding is 
as beneficial in August as in May.” These fierce words were not lost 
upon the infuriated soldiers, and the different companies rivalled each 
other in atrocity. One Cruce, a goldsmith, boasted of having killed 
one hundred persons with his own hands. 

The massacre lasted during the whole week, but after the third day 
its fury was considerably abated; in fact, on Tuesday a proclamation 
was issued for putting an end to it, but no measures were taken for 
enforcing the order; but the armed bands were no longer urged on 
to the slaughter. Some of the horrors endured during that awful 
week of butchery, are thus described by a young Frenchman, 
named Sully, who narrowly escaped with his life : 

Story of a Huguenot who Escaped the Massacre. 

I was awakened at about three o’clock in the morning by the 
ringing of bells, and loud cries for mercy. St. Julien, my tutor, went 
out quickly with my attendant to learn the cause. I have never 
heard anything more of these two men ; they were, without doubt, 
slain as soon as they reached the street. I was hurriedly dressing 
myself, when the owner of the house in which we were lodging came 
in. He was pale and trembling. Being a Huguenot, and knowing 
his danger, he had determined to go to mass in order to save his 
life and property. He told me to come with him, but I did not fol¬ 
low him, as I had already made up my mind to fly for refuge to the 
college of Burgundy, of which I was a student. The great distance 
made my attempt very dangerous, but I threw over my shoulders 



my scholar's gown, and as a further protection, put a prayer-book 
under my arm, and went down stairs. 

As soon as I reached the street I was horror-struck to see furious 
men running in every direction, breaking open the houses, and calling 
out, “ Kill! kill the Huguenots \” The blood which I saw shed 
before my eyes sickened me. A body of soldiers stopped me: I was 
questioned; they began to threaten, when happily for me, the book 
I carried served as a passport. Twice afterward I fell into the same 
danger, from which I was delivered with the same good fortune. At 
last I arrived at the college of Burgundy; but here a still greater dan¬ 
ger awaited me. The porter twice refused me entrance, and I re¬ 
mained in the middle of the street at the mercy of ruffians, whose 
numbers kept increasing, and who were eagerly seeking for their prey. 
At last I thought of asking for the principal of the college, named 
Dafaye, a worthy man, who knew me well. The porter, won over 
by some small pieces of money which I put into his hand, went to 
fetch him. This good man quickly appeared and took me to his 
chamber, but on the way two inhuman priests tried to snatch me 
from his hands, saying that the order was to kill even the infants 
at the breast. All that he could do was to drag me away to a dark 
closet where he locked me in. I remained there three whole days, 
uncertain of my fate, and receiving no assistance but from the ser¬ 
vant of this charitable man, who brought me food. 

On the fourth day Dafaye himself came to my hiding-place and 
told me the danger was about over, but that I must on no account 
leave the college. These directions I carefully obeyed until order 
was gradually restored and I was able to escape from Paris. 

Murders in the Palace of the King. 

The wife of Henry of Navarre, the sister of the king of France, 
tells the following story of her narrow escape from death on the 
fatal night of the massacre: 



“ Until a late hour my husband’s bed-room was filled with Hugue¬ 
nots, who talked about the attempted assassination of Coligni. When 
they had gone, and Navarre had retired, I went to my apartment. In 
less than an hour I was awakened by blows upon the door and frenzied 
shouts of Navarre! Navarre! The chambermaid opened the door, 
when in rushed a man, who was followed by four assassins all cov¬ 
ered with blood. 

“ Wild with fright, and seeking any way of escape from his grim 
pursuers, the hunted man threw himself upon my bed. Frantic with 
terror I threw myself out of the bed and dragged him after me. 
I did not know the man, nor did I know if he came there to injure 
me, or whether the soldiers were after him or me. We both of us 
cried out, and were both equally frightened. It was only by the 
narrowest chance that the lives of either of us were saved. After 
much pleading the captain of the guard consented to lead us to the 
chamber of the duchess of Lorraine, where we remained in the great¬ 
est terror, but in safety, until morning.” 

Story of Marshal de la Force. 

Marshal de la Force was a child at the time of the massacre; he 
has left some memoirs of his life, among which is the following nar¬ 
rative of his sufferings during that terrible scene of bloodshed. 

A horse-dealer, who had seen the duke of Guise and his friends 
murder Coligni, ran immediately to warn La Force’s father, to whom 
he had sold ten horses a week before. 

La Force and his two sons lodged in a part of Paris across the 
river. At that time there was no bridge to this part of the city; it 
could only be reached by a ferry. All the boats had been seized by 
order of the court, to carry over the assassins. But the horse-dealer 
was not to be thwarted in his efforts to save his patron; so he plunged 
into the river, swam across, and told La Force of his danger. 

The elder La Force was some distance away from his house, and 



had plenty of time to save himself; but seeing his children did not 
follow him, he returned to fetch them. He had scarcely entered the 
door when the assassins arrived. One Martin, at their head, came into 
his room, seized him and the two children, and told him with dread¬ 
ful oaths that he must die. La Force offered him a ransom of two 
thousand crowns; the captain accepted it, and La Force swore to 
pay him in two days. After having stripped the house, the assas¬ 
sins told La Force and his children to pin their handkerchiefs in 
their hats in the form of a cross; they also made them tuck up 
their right sleeves on the shoulder, to imitate the uniform of the 
murderers. As they crossed the river the marshal declares that he 
saw it covered with dead bodies. His father, his brother, and him¬ 
self, landed before the Louvre; and there they saw the corpses of sev¬ 
eral of their friends. 

Captain Martin took his prisoners to his own house in the city, 
and there made La Force and his sons swear that they would 
not leave it until they had paid the two thousand crowns. He 
then left them in the custody of two Swiss soldiers, and went out to 
kill or capture more Huguenots. One of the Swiss, touched with 
compassion, offered the prisoners their liberty, but La Force would 
not take advantage of this unlooked-for opportunity. He said that 
he had pledged his word, and that he would rather die than forfeit it. 
A relative was sent for, and promised him the two thousand crowns, 
in time to be given to Captain Martin when he should return. 

But, unfortunately, news of the La Forces’ capture had reached 
the ears of their enemies, and a messenger came to tell La Force 
that the duke of Anjou wished to speak to him, and requested the 
father and his children to come down stairs, bareheaded and with¬ 
out their cloaks. La Force plainly saw that they were leading him 
to death, but he followed, praying only that his two innocent chil¬ 
dren might be spared. Upon this, the younger of the children, 
then thirteen years old, the future marshal, raised his childish voice 



and reproached the murderers for their cruelty, saying that God 
would punish them. 

The two children, with their father, were led to the end of the 
street. Turning suddenly, the men stabbed the elder boy several 
times; he cried out, Ah, my father! O my God! I am hurt.” At 
almost the same instant the father also fell dead, bleeding from many 
wounds. The younger boy was covered with their blood, but he had, 
by almost a miracle, received no wound, and with wonderful presence 
of mind cried out also, ‘‘ I am stabbed.” He then threw himself 
down between his father and brother, and heard their last sighs. 
The murderers believing him dead, went away, saying, There, that 
ends them, all three.” 

Some thiev^es prowling about soon came to strip their bodies. 
The young La Force never moved an eyelid while they took off 
everything he had on excepting one stocking. After they had done 
with him, a poor rag-picker passing by saw this single stocking and 
stopped to take it. While he was pulling it from the foot of the 
apparently dead boy, he mused thus : 

‘‘ Alas !” said he, “ what a pity ! This is but a child ; what harm can 
he have done?” These words of compassion encouraged the little La 
Force to raise his head gently, and say, in a low voice, I am not 
dead, sir!” Greatly startled, the rag-picker answered, “ Do not stir, 
child; have patience.” He then went away, but in the evening came 
to save the boy. ‘‘Get up,” said he, “they are no longer here;” and 
wrapping him in a shabby cloak he carried him off. As he went, 
some of the executioners asked him, “ Who is that boy ?” It is my 
nephew,” said he, “ who has got drunk; you see what a state he is 
in. I am going to give him a whipping.” At last the poor man got 
safely to his house, and from there young La Force was taken, in 
the disguise of a beggar, to the arsenal, to his relative, Marshal Biron, 
grand master of the artillery. He was concealed here for some time 
in the servants’ chambers. At length, Biron hearing that the court 


party were hunting for the boy to kill him, he succeeded in getting 
him safely away, disguised as a page. 

Huguenots Fly to the Prison for Refuge. 

During the confusion and uproar of that fatal night, seven or eight 
hundred panic-stricken people sought refuge in the prison, hoping thus 
to escape from the fierce bands who ranged the streets. But armed 
guards, who had been placed there for that very purpose, drove the 
poor fugitives out into an open court-yard, where they were slain with 
swords and clubs; after which their bodies were thrown into the river. 

The duke of Guise, for political reasons, pretended to be willing to 
help the Huguenots, so he gave shelter to a few in his house. News 
of this was carried to the king, and those attending him said, “ It is be¬ 
traying us, it is betraying God and the king, to spare these heretics: 
though we have killed many, their hatred of us will give those left 
greater strength : Coligni is no more, but the king of Navarre and 
the prince of Conde survive; the church has everything to fear from 
such bitter enemies. We must still fight; we must seek within the 
walls of Rochelle and Montauban for those who have escaped from 
Paris. While we grow weary, they hate us the more, and they have 
almost ceased to fear us.’' To them the murder of so many of their 
countrymen appeared a piece of work only just begun. 

There was, however, no attempt made to renew the scenes of car¬ 
nage in the city of Paris; in fact, the king had already begun to reflect 
that the shedding of so much blood required some explanation, or 
all Europe would cry out in indignation against him. Accordingly, 
despatches were sent to all the governors oTthe provinces, informing 
them of the death of Coligni, and the troubles which had occurred 
in Paris; attributing everything to the feud which had so long 
existed between Guise and the admiral, and stating that the popu¬ 
lace, in their frenzy of enthusiasm for the Guises could not be 



The number of persons who were killed in the massacre of St. 
Bartholomew, in the city of Paris, was over four thousand. The 
dead and dying lay in heaps in the open squares and streets. Their 
bodies blocked the doors and carriage-ways, and were piled up in the 
alleys and court-yards. When every indignity that brutality and fiend¬ 
ish malice could invent had been practised upon these lifeless remains, 
the river Seine became their final resting-place. Besides those Hugue¬ 
nots whom their murderers had hurled alive into its black waters, 
from wharves and bridges, to perish by drowning, wagons bearing 
the bodies of men, women, and even young children, were hauled 
to the river and there emptied of their dreadful freight. But the 
sluggish current of the crooked Seine would not carry these bodies 
away; so the shores, at the first curve, between the city and the 
bridge of St. Cloud, were covered with putrefying corpses. The 
dread of a pestilence arising from them brought about their burial; 
among the records of Paris, in the city hall, is still to be found the 
bill of charges paid by the city for removing and putting under 
ground 1500 of these poor river-washed bodies. 

When news of the massacre reached Rome, the pope joyfully an¬ 
nounced a day of public celebration; the entire city was illuminated at 
night, and grand thanksgiving services were held in the cathedral. 

A General Slaughter throughout France follows the Mas¬ 
sacre OF St. Bartholomew. 

From Paris the order went forth to the cities of France, “ Slay 
the Huguenots!” and within a few days thousands of additional 
lives had been sacrificed. The extraordinary brutality and wicked¬ 
ness of this wholesale slaughter was only exceeded by its folly; for 
the people thus destroyed were of the class most useful to the State 
by reason of their industry and skill. In the blameless purity of 
their lives, also, these men and women who were hunted down 
like wild beasts by the officers of the law, and put to death with 



every kind of indignity and cruelty on account of their religion, 
contrasted strikingly with the corruption of the clergy and the 
shameless immorality of the court. 

The people of Rochelle hearing of the cruelties inflicted upon 
their brethren, resolved to defend themselves against the power of 
the king. Their example was followed by other strong towns, which 
entered into a league, or agreement to help one another in the com¬ 
mon cause. To crush this league, the king shortly after summoned 
the whole power of France, and the greatest of his generals. He 
attacked Rochelle by sea and land, and commenced a furious siege, 
which, but for the bravery of the people, must have ended in its 
destruction. Seven assaults were made, none of which succeeded. 
At one time a hole was broken in the wall by the tremendous can¬ 
nonade ; but owing to the valor of the citizens, who were assisted 
by even their wives and daughters, the king’s soldiers were driven 
back with great slaughter. 

The siege of Rochelle lasted seven months; it was then given up, 
the army called off, and war for a while ceased. The next year, 
in 1574, king Charles IX., whose guilty consent to the murderous 
schemes of his mother and the duke of Guise had deluged the land 
with blood, died at Paris, in the twenty-fourth year of his age. He 
suffered from a strange disease which baffled the skill of his physi¬ 
cians ; during which, it is said, his blood flowed from his body 
through the pores of the skin. This was a fitting end to such a 
life; and it is not to be wondered at that the Huguenots believed 
the king’s dreadful malady had been inflicted upon him by divine 
power, as a punishment for his cruel persecution of them. 

Huguenots Attacked in a Church at Vassy. 

At the town of Vassy, in the north of France, there lived a great 
many Huguenots. Religious services were publicly held in church 
by their minister, and the number of converts rapidly increased. 



One day the duke of Guise, with about two hundred soldiers, 
marched past Vassy. Before they had gone quite out of hearing 
the bell of the Huguenot church rang out, as usual, for morning ser¬ 
vice. Why does that bell ring so loud ?” asked the duke. A soldier 
named La Montague replied that it was to call together the Hugue¬ 
nots, and said there were a great many of them in the town who went 
to hear the sermons preached by their minister. Back !’' cried the 
duke to his soldiers, “ We shall take them in the act.” So they all 
turned back, and having halted before the market-house of the town, 
the duke went into the monastery which stood near and talked awhile 
with the prior. Then coming out hastily, he commanded his men 
to march to the church where the Huguenots were assembled. 

Now, Leonard Morel, the minister, had just begun his sermon, 
and some hundred or more men and women were listening to his 
words, when the reports of two muskets sounded in their ears. 
The people, frightened at this, tried to escape by the door, but were 
driven back by the soldiers, who rushed in upon them crying out. 
Death to the Huguenots!” 

Three of the men in the church were slain in a moment at the 
door, and then the soldiers rushed in among the congregation, strik¬ 
ing the poor people down with their weapons, and sparing neither 
man, woman, nor child in their fury. The unfortunate Huguenots 
were so terror-stricken that they knew not which way to turn, '' but 
running hither and thither, fell one upon another, flying as poor sheep 
before ravening wolves.” A number of the soldiers coolly aimed and 
fired their guns, while others cut in pieces with their swords every 
person within reach. 

'‘Some of the Huguenots had their heads cleft in twain and their 
arms and hands cut off; so that many of them died even in the 
place.” The walls and galleries were dyed with the blood of those 
who were murdered. So great was the fury of the soldiers, that a 
number of the men they were pursuing broke open the roof of the 




church, hoping to save themselves upon the top of it; but having 
climbed there, and still fearing to fall again into the hands of their 
enemies, some leaped down to the ground, and were cruelly bruised 
and hurt. Those who remained were even in a worse case, for a 
party of soldiers outside, seeing them on the roof, shot at them 
with their muskets and killed several. 

The household servants of Dessalles, prior of Vassy, also took 
part in this cruel work ; and one of their company was not ashamed 
to boast, after the massacre, that he had brought down six from the 
roof of the church, and said that if others had done as well, none 
would have escaped. 

The minister did not cease preaching until the soldiers had entered 
the church; then he got down from his pulpit, leaving his gown be¬ 
hind him, so that it would not hinder his flight. But when he had 
nearly reached the door, he stumbled over a dead body, and was 
immediately afterward struck with a sword, which cut a great gash 
in his head. Morel, thinking himself mortally hurt, cried out, “ Lord, 
into thy hands I commend my spirit.” While he thus prayed, one of 
the soldiers came at him, intending to run him through; but two 
others, who had recognized him, said, “ He is the minister; let us take 
him prisoner to our lord duke.” 

Then they led Morel away, one at each arm, and brought him be¬ 
fore the gate of the monastery. The duke saw them, and coming 
out, cried, ‘‘Come hither;” and he said, “Art thou the minister of 
this place ? Who made thee so bold as to seduce the people thus ?” 

“ Sir,” said the minister, “ I am no seducer, for I have preached to 
them only the gospel of Christ.” 

The duke perceiving in this simple answer a rebuke for his cruel 
outrages, cried out in anger, “ Doth the gospel preach sedition ? Pre- 
vost, go and have a gallows set up, to hang this fellow.” 

After this the minister was handed over to the keeping of two 
servants, who misused him shamefully. Some of the women of 



the place, also, caught up dirt and threw it in his face, crying, “ Kill 
him! kill this varlet, who has caused the death of so many.” The 
massacre at the church continued for nearly an hour. After the 
Huguenots had all been slain, or driven away, the trumpet sounded, 
the soldiers put up their weapons, and marched away. 

There were killed in this attack sixty persons, besides seven others 
who died afterward from their wounds. The minister was kept in 
prison for a considerable time, and frequently threatened with death, 
but he at last escaped and left the country. 

Incidents of the Persecution at Orleans. 

In a dreadful massacre of the Huguenots which took place at the 
city of Orleans, Dechampeaux, a distinguished lawyer, was among 
the slain. The following is an account of the manner in which he 
was put to death. 

A certain Captain Texier came to Dechampeaux’s house with six 
of his troopers, and asked to be lodged for the night. The lawyer had 
not yet heard of the bloody work going on at Paris, and gave his un¬ 
invited guests a kindly welcome. Supper being ended, Texier pushed 
back his chair and with an oath ordered his host to bring out his 
money; Dechampeaux laughed, thinking the soldier jested. But 
Texier was in no mood for merriment; he told his startled enter¬ 
tainer in a very few words what had happened at Paris, and draw¬ 
ing his sword swore that he would kill him on the spot unless paid 
a good round sum. Dechampeaux, greatly terrified, hurriedly gave 
Texier all the money he had; but even this did not save his life, 
for his cruel guest no sooner received the purse than he ran him 
through the body with his sword, and then pillaged the house. 

On the evening following this murder a general attack upon the 
Huguenots of Orleans was begun. All through the night nothing 
could be heard but the firing of guns and pistols, the breaking 
down of doors, and the despairing screams of women and children. 



Cruel Murder of a Physician. 

In one of the houses attacked upon this fatal night lived a Hugue¬ 
not physician, named Taillebous. As soon as the band of murderers 
knocked on his door the doctor came down and opened it, thinking 
some one of his patients had need of his services. When Taillebous 
asked what was wanted, one of the men pointed his sword at his 
breast, and answered, “Your life.” 

Upon hearing these menacing words, the good doctor fell upon his 
knees and made a last prayer to Heaven, so fervently uttered as to 
touch the hearts of even his would-be murderers; and taking only 
his purse they left him unharmed. But on the day following, Taille¬ 
bous’ own students, of the Romish party, hearing that his life had 
been spared, went to his house under the pretence of wanting to see 
a certain book in his library; he brought it to them, when they asked 
him for another. After thus amusing themselves for a while with 
their former instructor, they forced him out of his house at the 
point of the sword, and after driving him from place to place—the 
sport of the mob—murdered him in cold blood. 

A Merchant is Slain in His Bed. 

A rich merchant of Orleans, Nicholas Bougars by name, was a 
man much esteemed for his kindly, charitable disposition and great 
worth. On the night of the massacre he lay at home dangerously 
ill. Some of the assassins, breaking into his chamber, saw him lying 
on his bed, pale and motionless. Thinking him already dead, or at 
the point of death, they did not attack him, but robbed the house of 
everything of v^alue, and killed the physician who was in attendance. 

The next day, one of Bougars’ own acquaintances, who belonged 
to the Romish party, came to his house, and passing silently up the 
stairs stabbed the sick man with a dagger, thus killing him in his 
bed; then, concealing the bloody weapon, and as noiselessly as he 
had come, he went down the stairs, passing the mother of the man 



he had so basely slain, but betraying by neither word or look the 
awful crime he had just committed. 

Francis Stample, another merchant of Orleans, was threatened 
with instant death if he refused to give the murderers money. Hav¬ 
ing none with him, he wrote to his wife to send him his ransom, 
but he had no sooner sealed the letter than the monsters ran him 
through with their swords. They then took the letter and got from 
the murdered man’s wife a considerable sum of money, yet for all this 
the poor woman could not even obtain from them the body of her 
husband for burial. 

As soon as the massacre had begun at Paris, a soldier of fortune 
named Monsoreau obtained a permit, with letters from the authorities 
granting him the right to kill all the Huguenots at Angers. Being 
disappointed of his prey in one place, he came to the lodging of a 
Huguenot minister. Meeting the wife of the man he was seeking, 
at the entrance to the house, he saluted her and asked in an uncon¬ 
cerned manner, Where might I find your husband ?” She answered, 
“ He is working in his garden.” 

Monsoreau immediately passed on in search of his victim, and find¬ 
ing him in the garden, said, Do you know wherefore I am come ? 
The king hath commanded me to kill you, and hath given me express 
charge to do it by his letters.” Upon this he drew a pistol ready 
charged. The Huguenot replied, “ That he knew not wherein he 
had offended the king; but seeing,” said he, “ you seek my life, give 
me a little time to pray.” This request being granted, the poor man 
fell upon his knees, offered a short prayer to God, and upon its con¬ 
clusion was instantly shot down by his merciless executioner. 

Nearly three hundred of the Huguenots were murdered at Tou¬ 
louse, and after being stripped of their clothing, their bodies were ex¬ 
posed to public view for two days, and then thrown into great pits. 
Certain lawyers, after they were slain, were hung up in their long 

gowns, upon a great elm which was in the court of the palace. 




Massacre at Bordeaux. 

The massacre at Bordeaux was begun and carried on in much 
the same manner as the others; but many of the Huguenots found 
means to escape from the city, and hid themselves among the rocks 
and marshes, until they had an opportunity to sail for England. 

One incident which took place here is worthy of mention. A 
member of the council of Bordeaux, being a Huguenot, was eagerly 
searched for. His house was broken open, and he was attacked by 
the murderers. A faithful clerk who saw his kind employer about 
to suffer a cruel death, embraced and comforted him; and being 
asked by the mob whether he were of the same religion as his 
master, answered, Yea, and would die with him for the same.'^ 
They were, therefore, at once slain in each other’s arms. 

Du Tour, a deacon, and an old man, who in former times had been 
a priest in the Romish church, was dragged into the open street, and 
asked, whether he would go to mass, and thereby save his life. He 
answered, “ No, I am now near my end, by reason of age and sick¬ 
ness ; it would be buying a few days more of life at too dear a rate.” 
Upon this they slew him with their swords. 

The condition of the unfortunate Huguenots of France was 
‘indeed pitiable. They wandered through the country, not knowing 
where to go to save their lives. Many were disowned even by their 
parents and kindred, who shut their doors against them, pretending 
they knew them not. Others were betrayed and delivered up by 
those to whose friendship they had trusted. On the other hand, 
some were sheltered by strangers from whom they had little reason 
to expect any kindness. 

The Siege of Sancerre. 

The city of Sancerre, which was inhabited chiefly by Huguenots, 
many of whom had fled there for safety, was besieged by the king’s 
army. Having but a scanty supply of provisions the people soon 



began to suffer from hunger, and were forced to eat the flesh of 
horses and dogs. Even this miserable food was soon exhausted, and 
there remained for them only the dreadful choice, either to die by 
starvation, or to devour one another. One instance is, in fact, re¬ 
corded at this time, of a man and a woman having been sentenced 
to death, and executed, for killing and eating a child. 

During the hardships of this siege almost all the aged persons 
and the children died. Not more than eighty-four persons were slain 
by the missiles of the enemy, but hunger killed at least five hundred. 
Some of the people, in order to avoid a lingering death by starvation, 
fled from the city; choosing rather to die by the swords of the enemy. 
Every hope seemed gone; death appeared both within and without the 
walls; and so far was the king of France from feeling any pity for the 
people’s sufferings that, enraged at their courage, he swore they should 
eat up one another. But at the last moment they were saved by 
peace being declared, and for a time the civil war in France ceased. 

Civil wars, and grave disorders on account of religious and political 
differences, continued for twenty years in France, after the death of 
Charles IX., and throughout the reign of his brother, who followed 
him; who was himself succeeded by Henry of Navarre. 

The Reign of Henry of Navarre. 

Henry of Navarre, afterward king Henry IV. of France, is one 
of the most striking figures of history. Born during the period of 
warfare between the two great parties, he was brought up a Hugue¬ 
not, by his mother, one of the noblest women of her time. She sent 
the boy away from the softening influences of a court, to live a sim¬ 
ple, healthy life among the mountains, where he became used to hard¬ 
ship and trained in manly feats of strength. 

During the massacre of St. Bartholomew Henry was at Paris, and 
saved his life only by pretending to belong to the church party. He 
fled from Charles’ court three years later, and was thenceforth the 



acknowledged leader of the Huguenots; his dashing bravery and 
joyous, generous nature kept courage in their dispirited army until 
by victories at Arques and Ivry he made himself king of a great 
part of France. After the battle of Ivry, Henry marched against 
Paris, but its walls were so strongly defended that he could not take 
it, and although he won several battles in other parts of the country, 
his hope of being crowned the undisputed sovereign of a united nation 
seemed far from being realized. 

At this time, while Henry was hopeless and discouraged, it was 
suggested to him that if he would give up his Huguenot faith all 
opposition to his entering Paris would cease. The temptation was too 
strong to be resisted: he hesitated; then agreed. With the memor¬ 
able, the historic words, “ Paris is worth a mass!” Henry submitted 
himself a convert to the church of Rome; all Catholic France joy¬ 
fully accepted him as king, and Paris opened her gates. 

Such an act of treachery as this certainly cannot be excused, but 
it has been said that, after having won the coveted power, Henry en¬ 
deavored to quiet an accusing conscience by putting an end to the 
persecutions of the Huguenots; thus stopping the civil war which 
had so long desolated France, and protecting the religious party 
which, to gratify his ambition, he had so basely deserted. At all 
events Henry signed the celebrated edict of Nantes—so called from 
the city at which its acceptance by the king took place—which gave 
to the Huguenots citizenship, and the protection of the laws. By 
this act they were also allowed to worship God in their own way. 
But they were still forced to pay tithes for the support of the Romish 
priesthood, and compelled, outwardly at least, to observe the festivals 
of the Catholic church. This would seem a poor sort of religious 
liberty in the present day, but such as it was, it proved exceedingly 
welcome to the persecuted and abused Huguenots who had, hereto¬ 
fore, been unable to assemble together for any purpose whatever with¬ 
out fear of being attacked. 



The improvement in the condition of the Huguenots, which was 
brought about by the edict of Nantes, was shown in the increased 
number of their churches, and in their general prosperity. Always 
the most industrious of the people of France they became noted as 
the makers of artistic and beautiful things. The Huguenots were 
the weavers of silken fabrics; they were the skilled artisans who 
made the jewelry, watches, fine glass and porcelain ware, for which 
France became famous. The most enterprising of her merchants and 
traders, who sent their wares to foreign lands were also, frequently, of 
the Huguenot faith. 

Henry IV. was succeeded by his son, Louis XIIL, and during his 
reign, also, the Huguenots were treated with moderation. By the 
year 1640 they had seven hundred churches. This was the time of 
their greatest prosperity; the noble families and great lords of France 
no longer sought to join with them for purposes of leadership, or for 
the advancement of their own selfish schemes against the court. Thus 
as the political field was closed to the Huguenots they grew in piety 
and purity, and for sixty years after the edict of Nantes was signed, 
they continued, by their industry and virtue, to add to the welfare of 

France under Louis XIV. 

Louis XIV., who succeeded his father Louis XIIL to the throne 
of France, was born in 1638. He became king when only five 
years old, and during his childhood his mother, with Cardinal 
Mazarin as prime minister, controlled the government. When the 
king reached the age of twenty-three years he took the throne him¬ 
self, and for a half century ruled France with the iron hand of a 
despot. No other prince of his time was so noted for pride and 
arrogance. His famous reply, when urged to a certain action for 
the good of the state, or nation, Letat e'est moi The state! that’s 
me!”) well expressed his belief in his own supreme importance, and 
absolute power over France and her people. 



From the time Louis XIV. began to reign the peace and pros¬ 
perity of the Huguenots of France was broken in upon. They 
were first forbidden to hold conventions; then church synods were 
declared illegal. Soon the court went further, and sent monks and 
priests among them to try to bring their principal men back to the 
Roman faith. Whenever a pastor could be bribed or frightened into 
leaving his parish, his church was immediately torn down, and his 
people forbidden, under threats of terrible punishment, to rebuild it 
again. Huguenot worship became almost impossible in the towns, 
and the people had to seek once more the barns or fields. 

The Edict of Nantes is Revoked. 

As the king grew older his disposition became more gloomy and 
morose, the excesses of a licentious, misspent life bringing the pen¬ 
alty of a morbid and accusing conscience. He then seemed eager 
to make amends for his own crimes by cruel persecutions of the 
“ heretics ”—being assured by his priestly advisers that no act could 
be more grateful to Heaven than this. Within twenty years, five 
hundred and twenty Huguenot churches had been rooted up, and 
their congregations assailed by every outrage that fiendish malignity 
could devise. Thousands fled from the land in which they were so 
cruelly abused. 

The most fatal blow, however, that was dealt the Huguenots of 
France was the withdrawal, or revocation, of the edict of Nantes. 
This great crime was committed by Louis XIV. in 1685, and it 
resulted in driving nearly every Huguenot, who was able to travel, 
away from the country; for this act rendered it not only impossible 
to practise their form of worship, but it made outlaws of every one 
of them. Their property and their lives were henceforth the prey of 
whomsoever chose to take them. This outrageous act of tyranny 
caused a civil war to break out in parts of France which for two 
years defied the efforts of the court to put down, and in which the 



sufferings cheerfully endured by these persecuted people are among 
the most remarkable and heroic incidents of religious history. It 
is said, though no means of obtaining accurate figures exist, that at 
the time Louis XIV. came into power two millions of Huguenots— 
the best and thriftiest citizens of the land—lived in France, and that 
one million of these fled to other countries during his reign. 

Every sort of outrage and violence was let loose upon them. If 
they refused to change their form of worship, they were dragooned,” 
that is, the most ruffianly of the king's troops were lodged in their 
houses and villages, with privilege to live “at discretion;”—their ideas 
of discretion may be imagined. Accordingly the unhappy Huguenots 
were subjected to every indignity which a brutal, ignorant soldiery, 
who were freed from all control and left to gratify their worst pas¬ 
sions, could inflict upon them. All their ministers and principal men 
were ordered to leave France ; only a few days being allowed them 
in which to depart. Many were purposely detained by their enemies, 
or were unable to find means to travel; and these were condemned to 
the galleys, or convict ships. They were collected together in prisons; 
fed only on bread and water, and then marched off to the seacoast in 
large companies, handcuffed, and chained together. Their sufferings 
during this journey were dreadful; they were exposed to every change 
of weather, almost without covering. In the midst of winter they 
were obliged to pass the nights on the bare earth, fainting from hun¬ 
ger and thirst, and wasted by disease. The consequence was, that 
scarcely half the number who started out ever reached the seaport. 
Those who survived the terrible journey were immediately exposed 
to new sufferings, for they were put on board the galleys, and placed 
under the absolute control of inhuman and barbarous taskmasters. 
The work of rowing the galleys was in itself a most exhausting 
labor, and the sufferings of these poor slaves were increased a hun¬ 
dred-fold by the scourgings often inflicted upon them by their savage 



At last the story of their cruel wrongs caused such indignation in 
the Protestant countries of Europe, that Queen Anne of England, 
filled with compassion for their miseries, directed her ambassador at 
the court of France to make an earnest protest in their favor, which 
Louis, who was already at war with Germany, thought it prudent to 
respect. He therefore sent orders to all the seaports for the imme¬ 
diate release of every galley-slave condemned for his religion. 

Unwilling, however, to let pass an opportunity for one more act of 
cruelty, Louis forbade the released Huguenots to travel through France 
to the countries which had offered them a refuge ; thus compelling 
them to sail direct from the ports at which they had been confined. 
The difficulty of obtaining vessels for their voyage occasioned a long 
delay, during which the poor prisoners suffered from that hope 
deferred, which maketh the heart sick,” and were led to fear that 
something might still prevent their escape. But finally every obstacle 
which malice and bigotry could invent was removed, and these poor 
sufferers went forth rejoicing in their deliverance. When they reached 
England they sent a few of their number to London, who waited upon 
her majesty Queen Anne, to return grateful thanks for her protection 
of them. She received them very graciously, and assured them that 
she derived more pleasure from having lessened the miseries of these 
her fellow-Protestants than from the most brilliant events of her reign. 

The exiles soon comfortably established themselves in England, 
and that country was a great gainer through their industry and in¬ 
genuity, while France, by losing such good citizens, received a blow 
from which her commercial and trading interests never recovered. 
Holland, Germany, and Switzerland also welcomed such of the exiles 
as sought refuge within their borders, and from the time they settled 
there, these countries began to excel in the manufacture of articles 
which had formerly been made only in France. 

At a later date some of the Huguenots came to the United States, 
and these, likewise, added much to the prosperity of the communities 



among whom they settled. They were noted for their morality, in¬ 
tegrity, and business enterprise. Of seven presidents who directed 
the deliberations of the Congress held at Philadelphia, during the 
war of the Revolution, three, viz., Henry Laurens, John Jay, and 
Elias Boudinot, were of Huguenot parentage. 

To bring their history down to later times, it may be said that this 
unhappy condition of the Protestants in France continued about one 
hundred years longer. In 1787 Louis XVI. signed an edict which re¬ 
stored to them again their civil rights. The French revolution of 
1789 carried justice a step further and placed them upon a complete 
equality with the rest of the people of France. From that time to 
this, so far as religious strife is concerned, France has been at 



Tpie Bible in Ancient Times. 

Before going on to tell of the good and learned men who, in 
the ages that are past, translated the Bible into different languages, 
it will be proper to give a brief history of the sacred volume itself, 
and of the ancient writings, or manuscripts, by means of which it 
has been preserved to us. 

Long before the art of printing from type was known books were 
written, or rather printed, only with the pen. Much labor and time 
was therefore required to make a book; and as but few persons 
possessed the necessary skill or knowledge, and as, instead of paper, 
expensive vellum or parchment, made from the skins of animals, was 
used to write on, books were very scarce and expensive things. 

In the early Christian age, books were found chiefly within the 
libraries of monasteries or religious houses; for the monks spent 
much of their time in transcribing—often in graceful and beautiful 
characters, and with brilliantly colored pictures—copies of the holy 
Scriptures, and books of devotion. 

The three oldest written or manuscript copies of the Bible, in 
the original Greek text, that are now in existence are, curiously 
enough, in the possession of the three great branches of the Chris¬ 
tian church. The first, called the “ Alexandrian,’' belongs to Pro¬ 
testant England, and is kept in the manuscript-room of the British 
Museum; the second, called the Vatican ” Bible, is in the Vatican 
Libraiy at Rome; the third, or “ Sinaitic,” which has only been 

discovered in recent years in the record-chest of a monastery near 



Mount Sinai, is one of the treasures of the Greek church, at St. Peters¬ 
burg, Russia. These ancient parchments are from 1350 to 1600 years 
old. All Greek manuscripts of an earlier date seem to have perished 
in the terrible persecutions which were directed, not only against the 
Christians themselves, but also against their sacred writings. 

The Old Testament portions of these old Greek Bibles are copies 
of the “ Septuagint,’' which was the most ancient Greek translation of 
the Old Testament. The history of this early Greek Old Testament is 
not very clear; it was at one time believed to have been the work 
of seventy-two scholars who were appointed by Eleazer, high priest 
at Jerusalem, to translate the Hebrew sacred books for the royal 
library of Ptolemy Philadelphus, at Alexandria, Egypt. From the num¬ 
ber of the supposed translators the name “ Septuagint (seventy) was 
taken. It is now known, however, that the translation was not made 
at one time, but was begun about the year 285 b. c., and continued 
on by different men, and at different times, until the whole was com¬ 
pleted. It is not improbable, however, that a copy was placed in 
the royal library at Alexandria; but whether the translation was 
first brought about by the Jews in Egypt, so that they could hear 
the law and the prophets read in a language they could understand, 
or whether one of the Egyptian kings commanded it to be done, 
cannot now be determined. 

It is certain, however, that colonies of Jews, from the time of the 
first captivity and onwards, settled in Egypt, and that they obtained 
permission from Ptolemy Philometor to raise a temple at Leontop- 
olis, and to appoint priests and Levites for its service. A gathering- 
place was thus formed for the exiled Jews: their temple was, as nearly 
as they could make it, like that at Jerusalem, and the rites used there 
were similar. Intercourse with Palestine was, however, still main¬ 
tained, but a natural result of the settlement of so many Jews in 
Egypt, a country then ruled by the Greek-speaking Ptolemies, was 
the translation of the sacred books of the Hebrews into Greek. 



Ancient Versions of the Bible. 

Many versions^ or translations of the Bible into other languages 
than the Greek, were made in different countries in the early Christian 
era. These are of great value in interpreting the Scriptures, as they 
show the meaning put upon the words used in still more ancient 
manuscripts long since perished, by various translators. The oldest 
of these manuscript Bibles, containing both the Old and the New 
Testament, now in existence, is the Syriac; this discolored and time- 
stained parchment was written with the pen nearly eighteen hundred 
years ago. It is a Bible such as was used by men whose fathers 
might have seen the apostles themselves, and being written in the 
language of Syria represents very nearly that of the people among 
whom our Lord moved while upon earth. The Syriac Scriptures, 
with the Latin, are the oldest Bibles that have come down to us. 

First Revision of the Bible. 

It can readily be seen that, as time went on, and the Scriptures 
were copied and recopied with the pen, mistakes were likely to be 
made; in fact, by the end of the fourth century so many errors had 
crept into the old Latin versions that the Latin-speaking churches 
were in danger of losing the pure Scripture of the days of the apos¬ 
tles. At this time one of the greatest scholars and holiest men of 
his time, Eusebius Hieronymus, better known as St. Jerome, under¬ 
took the correction, or revision. He completed the New Testament 
in the year 385 A. D., and afterward translated the Old Testament 
direct from the original Hebrew—a task which probably no other 
scholar of the time would have been capable of. Since Jerome of 
course used for his edition the oldest manuscripts to be had in his 
day, he probably copied from some which were written in the time 
of the apostles. The work of no other scholar ever had so import¬ 
ant an influence on the history of the Bible, and for more than one 
thousand years Jerome’s revised Latin Bible was the parent of every 



version of the Scriptures produced in Western Europe. It is called 
the “ Vulgate ”—meaning current text—and many centuries later, at the 
council of Trent, held by the Roman church in the year 1546, it was 
ordained that the Vulgate alone should be deemed the authentic ver¬ 
sion, and that no one should dare to reject it under any pretext what¬ 

Discovery of the Art of Printing. 

Until about the year 1450, Bibles and books of every kind con¬ 
tinued to be written with the pen. Then John Gutenberg, of Mentz, 
in Germany, made the discovery that by cutting out the letters of the 
alphabet in wooden type, and taking ink impressions by means of a 
rude hand-press, the labor of transcribing words with the pen could 
be avoided. 

According to the story, this important discovery was the result of 
an accident. When a boy, Gutenberg had one morning amused him¬ 
self by cutting out the letters forming his name, from the bark of a 
tree. Upon returning to his home he spread out the letters upon a 
board, so as to again form the words. A pot of purple dye was stand¬ 
ing near and the boy carelessly dropped one of his letters into the 
liquid. Quickly, without stopping to think, he snatched it out again 
and laid it down upon a smooth piece of leather which lay on the 
bench, the result being a beautiful purple letter printed on the yellow¬ 
ish white surface of the skin. 

This accidental discovery was, apparently, never forgotten, and it 
marked the first step toward the art of printing from movable type, 
which, thirty years afterward, made the name of Gutenburg famous. 
In 1450 his press was at work at Mentz, and the first completed 
book issued from that press is said to have been the Latin Bible. 

Early Translations of the Bible in England. 

We will now go back to the early times again and take up the history 
of the English Bible. Very little is known about the people and cus- 

3 iS 


toms of Britain during the first four centuries of the Christian era, and 
it is not known whether the Bible, during that early period, found its 
way there. We do know that, in the middle of the fifth century, 
Britain was sorely pressed by enemies, and abandoned by the Roman 
garrison, which was recalled to fight against the invaders of Rome. 

Saxons and Angles—barbarous European races—gradually rose to 
be the conquerors and rulers of Britain. Among this wild and cruel 
population we are told that the power of Christianity did not find en¬ 
trance until about the beginning of the sixth century, when the 
foundations of the Anglo-Saxon church were laid by the celebrated 

Bede Translates the Bible into Saxon. 

No effort is known to have been made to translate Jerome’s 
Latin version of the Scriptures into the language of the people until 
the year 706, when Eadhelm, bishop of Sherborne, translated into the 
Saxon language the book of Psalms. The Gospels are said to have 
been translated soon after, by Egbert. Some years later the illustrious 
Bede, called the Wise Saxon, or the Venerable Bede, the most famous 
scholar of his day, made a version for the use of his countrymen. 

It is narrated of this good old man, by one of his pupils, that even 
as he lay on his death-bed he was feebly dictating to his scribe a trans¬ 
lation of St. John’s Gospel. 

“ Our father and master, whom God loved,” writes this student of 
the aged Bede, “had translated the Gospel of St. John as far as 'what 
are these among so many?’ He began then to suffer much in his 
breath, and a swelling came in his feet, but he went on dictating to 
his scribe. ' Go on quickly,’ he said, ‘ I know not how long I shall 
hold out, or how soon my Master will call me hence.’ All night 
long he lay awake in thanksgiving, and when the next day dawned, 
he commanded us to write with all speed what he had begun.” 

Thus the account goes on, describing the working and resting right 



through the day till the evening came, and then, with the setting sun 
gilding the window of his cell, the old man lay feebly dictating the 
closing words. 

“ There remains but one chapter, master,” said the anxious scribe, 
“ but it seems very hard for you to speak.” 

“ Nay, it is easy,” Bede replied; “ take up thy pen and write 

Amid blinding tears the young scribe wrote on. “And now, 
father,” said he, as he eagerly caught the last words from the quiv¬ 
ering lips, “ only one sentence remains.” Bede dictated it. 

“ It is finished, master!” cried the youth, raising his head as the 
last word was written. 

“ Ay, it is finished !” echoed the dying saint; “ lift me up; place me 
at the window of my cell, where I have so often prayed to God.” 

This was done, and with a last prayer upon his lips his beautiful 
spirit passed to the presence of Him whose word he had, almost 
with his last breath, striven to teach. 

Later Saxon Translations. 

The next translator was no less a person than king Alfred the 
Great, who expressed the wish, “that all the free-born youth of his 
kingdom should employ themselves on nothing till they could first 
read well the English Scripture.” King Alfred before his death in 
the year 900, had made a Saxon version of the Psalms, which, with 
the Gospels, seemed the favorite Scriptures of the people. 

Toward the close of the tenth century a considerable part of the 
Old Testament was written in Saxon by ^Ifric, archbishop of Canter¬ 
bury, at a time when the darkest night of ignorance prevailed on 
every side. So far as we can judge from the old manuscripts—some 
of which are still in existence — most of these early Bible translations 
were intended for reading in the churches to the people, and the plain 
simple terms used in them made them very easily understood. 



For example, a centurion was translated to mean a “ hundred- 
man ” (commander of one hundred men). A disciple a “learning 
knight,” or “ learning youththe Sabbath as the “ rest day,” and the 
woman who put her mites in the treasury is said to have cast them 
into the “ gold hoard.” Thus did these excellent men bring their 
powers of mind to the work of rendering the Scriptures into lan¬ 
guage familiar to the common people. 

Forming of the English Tongue. 

After the early Anglo-Saxon versions comes a long pause in the 
history of Bible translation in England. Amid the disturbance re¬ 
sulting from the Danish invasion there was little time for thinking of 
translations and manuscripts; and before the land had fully regained 
its quiet the fatal battle of Hastings had been fought, and England lay 
helpless at the feet of the Normans. 

The higher Saxon clergy were replaced by the priests of Normandy, 
who had little sympathy with the people they had overcome, and the 
Saxon manuscripts were contemptuously flung aside as relics of a 
rude barbarism. This contempt for the language of a conquered 
people put an end to all effort toward Bible translation. The proud 
Norman clergy had no sympathy with the desire for spreading the 
knowledge of the Scriptures among the common people; so that for 
hundreds of years those Scriptures remained in England a “ spring 
shut up, a fountain sealed.” 

Yet this time must not be considered altogether lost, for during 
those centuries England was becoming fitted for an English Bible. 
The future language of the nation—the English tongue which we now 
speak—was being formed. The Saxon and the Norman-French were 
struggling side by side; gradually the old Saxon was less and less 
used, little by little the French, as it was spoken by the Normans 
when they landed, ceased to be heard; but the two languages, min¬ 
gled or welded together, became the tongue of united England, 



England under the Normans. 

But what of the church in England during these years in which 
Norman and Saxon were slowly uniting into one nation ? Sunk from 
her high estate of earlier and purer days, she had fallen, by the begin¬ 
ning of the fourteenth century, to the lowest point of spiritual decay. 
The clergy were ignorant and corrupt, and the people utterly neglected 
—except when money was to be extorted from them, to pay for masses 
and pardons—as if,'' to quote the words of an old writer, “ God had 
given His sheep not to be pastured but to be shaven and shorn." 

The popes no longer lived at Rome; they had removed to Avignon, 
a city of southern France, and had become subservient to the French 
kings. Their greed and extortion caused almost universal dissatisfaction. 
Hordes of foreign priests were sent out to control English parishes, and 
the people complained that the taxes levied by the pope were greater 
than those paid the king. 

It has been said of the church in those days, that, Scarcely any¬ 
thing but the mere name of Christ remained; His true doctrine being 
as far unknown to the most part, as His name was common to all. As 
to faith, consolation, the end and use of the law, the office of Christ, 
our impotency and weakness, the greatness and strength of sin, of 
true works, grace, and free justification by faith, wherein Christianity 
consists, they were either unknown or disregarded. Scripture learn¬ 
ing, and divinity, were known to but few, and that in the schools 
only, where they were turned and converted into themes merely for 
discussion and argument. Instead of Peter and Paul, men occupied 
their time in studying the writings of Roman authors; and forsaking 
the lively power of God’s spiritual word and doctrine, were altogether 
led and blinded with outward ceremonies and human traditions, inso¬ 
much that scarcely any other thing was seen in the churches, taught 
or spoken of in sermons, or intended or sought after in their whole 
lives, but the heaping up of ceremonies upon ceremonies—the people 

being taught to worship no other thing but that which they saw.” 



This state of things had gone on for centuries, and the people like 
dumb driven cattle had submitted. But those who could read the 
signs of the times, in the early part of the fourteenth century, must 
have seen that it could not continue much longer. Education was 
becoming more general; new colleges were being founded; a strong 
spirit of independence, too, was arising among the people. King 
Edward III. and his parliament indignantly refused the pope’s demand 
for the annual tribute to be sent to Rome. It was evident that a crisis 
was near. And as if to hasten it, all Christendom was shocked at 
this time by a bitter quarrel between two parties in the church of 
Rome itself, who elected two rival popes, one at Rome and the other 
at Avignon. These hurled denunciations at each other from their 
respective cities, and raising armies, slaughtered helpless women and 
children in their effort to grasp the supreme power. 

The people of England were greatly moved by all this, and the 
time had evidently come when only the opened Bible in the hands 
of the people, could re-establish their faith in the true religion by 
showing to them the beautiful, self-forgetting life of Jesus Christ as 
recorded in the New Testament. 

John Wycliffe Translates the Bible into English. 

John Wycliffe, who was raised up to do this great work for the 
people of his time, was born about 1325. Little is recorded of his 
early life, and it was not until he had been appointed to the master¬ 
ship of Balliol college in the university of Oxford, that he was recog¬ 
nized as one of the first scholars of his day. 

We do not know how Wycliffe became imbued with the spirit of 
biblical research and translation, at a time when the Bible was almost 
an unused book to the great body of the clergy. Perhaps the earnest 
student, urged by an inward want which found little to satisfy it in the 
dry discussions of the lecture-room, was searching in the old chests in 
which ancient manuscripts were stored, when his eye was attracted by 



the beautifully written and illuminated parchment penned by some 
pious monk of earlier day‘^. This is indeed but fancy; but it is no 
mere fancy that Wycliffe found a Bible, and that he pored over it so 
long and earnestly, and with such fervent prayer to God, that it be¬ 
came to him the source of a new spiritual existence. 

'‘The sacred Scriptures,” said Wycliffe, "are the property of the 
people, and one which no one should be allowed to wrest from them. 
.... Christ and His apostles converted the world by making known 
the Scriptures to men in a form familiar to them, .... and I pray 
with all my heart, that, through doing the things contained in this 
book, we may all together come to the everlasting life.” 

The translation of the Bible into the common tongue of the Eng¬ 
lish people, and its general use, Wycliffe placed first in importance in 
all his attempts to reform the English church. He also boldly de¬ 
nounced the sale of pardons for sins committed, or indulgences to 
commit sins, from which source torrents of money were being poured 
into the papal treasury. He also condemned as useless and idolatrous 
pilgrimages to the shrines of the saints, worship of their images, or 
worship of the saints themselves. He appealed to the Bible as the 
one ground of faith, and asserted that every instructed man had the 
right to examine the Bible for himself. 

Wycliffe thus attacked the power of the priesthood at its very 
foundation and threatened it with ruin. Nor were his opinions shared 
only by a few scholars; for with the practical ability which was a 
marked feature of his character, he collected together an order of 
poor preachers, "the simple priests,” whose homely sermons and 
coarse, brown habit moved to laughter the luxurious clergy of the 
ancient church. These travelling preachers carried their master’s doc¬ 
trine far and wide. It spread with amazing rapidity. A few years 
later the followers of Wycliffe numbered thousands,—eveiy second 
man you met, complained his enemies, was a Lollard. They were to 
be found everywhere and in all classes, among the baronage, in the 



cities, among the peasantry of the country-side, even in the cells of 

The Lollards : Trial of Wycliffe. 

“ Lollard,” a word which probably means much the same as idle 
babbler,” was the scornful nickname given by the orthodox church¬ 
men to their assailants. But their rapid increase changed scorn into 
dread, and a council was held in the great hall of the Black friars’ 
monastery, London, in May, 1378. Amid this great assemblage of 
monks and abbots, bishops and doctors of the church, John Wycliffe 
stood for trial. He had dared to attack the corruptions of the church, 
he had denounced pardons, and indulgences, and masses for the soul 
as part of a system of gigantic fraud; and he had busied himself in 
translating the Scriptures into the English tongue. These were 
Wycliffe’s crimes. 

After three days’ trial Wycliffe’s teachings were condemned, and 
at a later meeting he himself was excommunicated. He retired to 
his quiet parsonage at Lutterworth—for his enemies dared not kill 
him—and there, with his pile of old Latin manuscripts and com¬ 
mentaries, he labored on at the great work of his life, till the whole 
Bible was translated into English, and England received, for the first 
time in her history, a complete version of the Scriptures in the lan¬ 
guage of the people. 

Death of Wycliffe. 

Scarcely was Wycliffe’s task well finished when, like his great pre¬ 
decessor Bede, the brave old man laid down his life. He himself had 
expected that a violent death would have finished his course. His 
enemies were many and powerful; the king and the pope were against 
him, so that his destruction seemed but a mere question of time. But 
while his enemies were busy collecting evidence against him, and pre¬ 
paring to strike, the old man “ was not, for God took him.” He died 
of paralysis on the last day of the year 1384. 



Some time after Wycliffe’s death, a petition was presented to the 
pope, which to his honor he rejected, praying- him to order Wycliffe’s 
body to be taken out of consecrated ground and buried in a dunghill. 
But forty years after, by a decree of the council of Constance, as pre¬ 
viously told, the old reformer’s bones were dug up and burned, and the 
ashes flung into the little river Swift, which ran by Lutterworth. 

Merits and Defects of Wycliffe’s Translation. 

Like all the earlier translations of the Bible made in England, 
Wycliffe’s Bible was based on the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome; and 
this is the great defect in his work as compared with versions that 
followed. He was not capable of reading the original Greek and 
Hebrew manuscripts—even if he had been able to get them—in fact 
there was probably no man in England at that time capable of doing 
so. Therefore, though he represented the Latin faithfully and well, 
he of course handed on its errors as faithfully as its perfections. 
Wyclifle translated not for the scholars, or for the rich and great, 
but for the plain people, and his style was such as suited those for 
whom he wrote—plain, vigorous, homely, and yet with all its homeli¬ 
ness full of a solemn grace and dignity, which made men feel that 
they were reading no ordinary book. He made use of many striking 
words and expressions while changing the Latin into the English of 
his day. Many of the best-known phrases in our present Bible origi¬ 
nated with him, such as, “ the beam and the mote,” “ strait is the gate, 
and narrow is the way,” etc. 

Copies of Wycliffe’s Bible were widely scattered throughout Eng¬ 
land, in spite of the fact that all of them had to be written with the 
pen, the art of printing not being then known. The cost of written 
books was so great that only the wealthier class of people could 
afford to buy a Bible; but such as did so permitted others less fortu¬ 
nate to read in it; or portions were learned by heart and recited to 
eager listeners, so that a knowledge of the Scriptures began to enter 



like a ray of light into the dark ignorance concerning spiritual things 
which, until then, prevailed among the mass of the people. It is 
touching to read such incidents as that of one “ learned ” Alice 
Collins, who was sent for to come to one of these little congregations 
‘‘ to recite the ten commandments and parts of the epistles of St. Paul, 
which she knew by heart.” 

But it was at a terrible risk that such meetings were held. The 
appearance of Wycliffe’s Bible aroused at once bitter opposition from 
the upholders of the ancient church. A bill was brought into parlia¬ 
ment to forbid the circulation of the Scriptures in English, but this 
was opposed by John of Gaunt, who vigorously upheld the right of 
the people to have the word of God in their own tongue. However, 
the rulers of the church grew more and more alarmed at the increased 
circulation of the book. 

Laws Passed for the Punishment of Wycliffe’s Followers, 

At length archbishop Arundel complained to the pope of “ that 
pestilent wretch, John Wycliffe, who had invented a new translation 
of the Scripturesand shortly after, the convocation of Canterbury 
forbade the use of such translations, under penalty of excommunication. 
In a great council held by the heads of the church at Rome, measures 
were taken to crush the rising heresy. Magistrates of every Christian 
country whatsoever were called upon to condemn to death such per¬ 
sons as were brought to trial, proved guilty, and refused to abjure the 
doctrines of Wycliffe and his followers. 

Burning of Wycliffites. 

The decree of the council held at Rome being received in Eng¬ 
land, the prosecution of the so-called heretics became a part of the 
common law. A writ, styled de heretico comburendo.^ was issued under 
king Henry IV., for burning them upon their conviction; and it was 
enacted, that all who presumed to preach without the license of the 



bishops, should be shut up in prison, and brought to trial within three 
months. If upon conviction they offered to abjure, and were not re¬ 
lapses—that is, persons who had been convicted before of the same 
offence—they were to be imprisoned and fined; but if they refused 
to abjure, or were relapses, they were to be delivered over to the 
secular arm (the civil authorities), and burned in some public place. 

At this time, in the year 1400, and in the reign of king Henry IV., 
William Sautre, parish priest of St. Osith, in London, being condemned 
as a relapsed heretic, and degraded from the priesthood, suffered death. 
A writ was issued, wherein burning is called the common punishment, 
and referring to the custom of other nations. This was the first ex¬ 
ample in England of that barbarous method of executing offenders 
against Roman institutions. 

Increase of the Wycliffites. 

But in spite of opposition Wycliffe’s doctrine continued to spread 
greatly in the reign of Henry IV.; even members of the house of 
commons were inclined to it, and presented two petitions to the king, 
one against the clergy, the other in favor of the Lollards. The first 
set forth that the clergy made ill use of their wealth, and consumed 
their income in a manner quite different from the intent of the givers. 
In the second petition the commons prayed that a statute formerly 
passed against the Lollards might be repealed, or qualified with some 

But the king answered the petitioners very sharply, that he neither 
could nor would consent to their requests. And with regard to the 
Lollards, he declared he wished the turbulent rebels were driven out 
of the land. As if to prove the truth of this, he signed the warrant 
for the burning of Thomas Badby. 

Execution of Thomas Badby. 

Thomas Badby was an Englishman by birth, and by trade a tailor. 
He was brought, in the year 1409, before the bishop of Worcester. 



During his examination he boldly denied his belief in Romish doc¬ 
trines, and although much argument was used to bring him to a dif¬ 
ferent way of thinking he still continued firm in his opinions. 

When the king had signed the warrant for Badby’s execution, he 
was brought to a place called Smithfield, and there being put in an 
empty tun (or barrel), was bound with iron chains fastened to a stake, 
and had dry wood piled around him. As he was thus standing in 
the tun, it happened that the prince of Wales, the king’s eldest son, 
passed by: who being moved with compassion, endeavored to save 
the life of the poor man whom they sought to burn. 

The prince, therefore, called out, and counselled him to shun the 
dreadful fate of a heretic by turning from his errors. Also Court¬ 
ney, at that time chancellor of Oxford, besought Badby to remember 
the saving grace of holy mother church. 

By this time the prior of St. Bartholomew’s church, at Smithfield, 
had brought with solemn ceremony the sacrament, with twelve torches 
borne before, and showed the sacrament to the man at the stake. And 
when they asked of him whether he believed in it, he answered that he 
knew well it was hallowed bread, but not God’s body. 

Then the tun was put over him, and fire put unto him. And when 
he felt the fire, he cried, “ Mercy!” (calling upon the Lord). Then the 
prince hearing his cry, immediately commanded them to take away the 
tun, and quench the fire. He then asked the prisoner if he would for¬ 
sake heresy, and take the faith of Rome, which if he would do, he 
should have goods enough, promising him also a yearly pension out 
of the king’s treasury. But this valiant champion remained deaf to 
all the promises of the prince, being more possessed by the Spirit of 
God than by any earthly desire. 

Therefore, as the prisoner continued unchanged in his mind, the 
prince commanded him straight to be put back again into the tun, 
and told him that he need not look for any further mercy or favor. 

But as he could be allured by no rewards, neither was he in any 




terror of their torments, but as a valiant soldier of Christ, continued 
steadfast until life had gone from him, standing quietly in the midst 
of the fierce flames they had kindled. 

Dreadful End of Sir John Oldcastle. 

After the death of king Henry IV. the troubled condition of Eng¬ 
land appeared so alarming to his son and successor, Henry V., that a 
new royal mandate was issued against the Lollards. In the former 
reign, their leader, the earl of Salisbury, had been killed while head¬ 
ing a revolt, and the leadership had been transferred to one of the 
foremost warriors of the time. Sir John Oldcastle, who threw open 
his castle of Cawley to the Lollards, as their headquarters, sheltered 
their preachers, and defied the prohibitions of the bishops. 

Oldcastle was besieged in his stronghold by the king’s forces, 
which took the place, and carried its commander a prisoner to the 
Tower of London; but he soon escaped from the Tower and fled into 
Wales, where he lay safely concealed for some time. But being after¬ 
ward seized in Powisland, in North Wales, by Lord Powis, he was 
brought back to London. 

Sir John Oldcastle was of a very good family; he had been sheriff 
of Hertfordshire under Henry IV., and summoned to parliament among 
the barons of the realm in that reign. He had also been sent beyond 
the sea, with the earl of Arundel, to assist the duke of Burgundy 
against the French. But in spite of his rank and his former friend¬ 
ship with the king, Oldcastle was condemned to the dreadful fate of 
being hung alive in chains, and slowly burned by a fire kindled beneath 
his feet. 

This barbarous sentence was carried out in the latter part of the 
year 1417,—such being the terrible end of a man who, although his 
services to his country had been great, had yet dared to defy the 
authority of his king. With the death of Sir John Oldcastle, and the 
execution of thirty-nine of the principal Lollards in the kingdom, the 




political activity of the party came to an end; while steady persecu¬ 
tion by the bishops crushed its power as a religious movement, and 
for a long time the nation remained apparently at rest, and so far as 
religion was concerned, under the dominion of Rome. 

For more than one hundred years no further effort was made 
toward Bible translation in England. 


A Brief Outline of History. 

The state of the church and of religion in England was so power¬ 
fully affected by the actions of Henry VIII. and his ministers, that a 
brief outline of his reign will be given before taking up the history 
of the events themselves. By this arrangement a clearer idea can be 
obtained of the character of the changes that were made, and the 
causes which led to them. 

King Henry VIII. was the second son of Henry VII., and was 
eighteen years of age when he took the throne, in 1509. He had 
been educated with more than the usual care, as the revival of learn¬ 
ing was at this time beginning to make its influence felt in England. 
His first marriage was with Catherine of Arragon, the young widow 
of his elder brother,—the match being encouraged by his father, who 
was unwilling to lose the 200,000 ducats which the princess had 
brought as her dowry. Some objection was raised against such a 
marriage—it was believed by many to be unlawful—but bishop Fox, 
of Winchester, was in favor of it, and a dispensation received from the 
pope, whose authority was all-powerful in such matters, removed all 

No monarch ever came to the throne of England with brighter 
prospects than Henry VIII. In him were united the claims of the 
Houses of York and Lancaster. The royal treasury contained a large 
sum of money; the nation was at peace, and trade was good. In the 
early part of his reign Henry made war against Louis XII. of France, 

invaded the country, and at Guinegate won the “ battle of Spurs ”— 




SO named from the rapid flight of the French horsemen, who were said 
to have used their spurs more than their swords. 

The Scots as allies of the French took advantage of Henry’s 
absence to invade England; but they suffered a terrible defeat from 
the earl of Surrey, at the battle of Flodden, which was fought near 
the river Till in Northumberland in September 1513. There James 
IV. and the greater part of the Scottish nobility were slain. Mar¬ 
garet, the sister of Henry VIII., became regent of Scotland for her 
little son, James V. 

Cardinal Wolsey. 

During the first twenty years of Heniy’s reign his chief minister 
was Thomas Wolsey, of Ipswich. He was a priest; he had been 
chaplain to Henry VII., and was made chancellor and archbishop 
of York by Henry VIII. Then the pope, seeing that he was both 
wise and ambitious, made him cardinal, and appointed him to be his 
legate in England. He was now the chief man in England, after the 
king, both in church and state. A procession of clergy and nobles 
followed him from place to place, and five hundred persons of noble 
birth made up his household. He had in his hands all the dealings 
of England with foreign nations, and knew how to manage the differ¬ 
ent kings of Europe for his master’s benefit. Christ Church college 
at Oxford was founded by Wolsey; for he was a learned man, and 
perhaps the most estimable trait of his character was that he loved to 
see knowledge spreading throughout the land. 

Wolsey, however, was more ready to do favors for the king than 
for the people, and more anxious to become great himself than to 
benefit either of them. His one great desire was to be pope. He 
grew richer and richer, and built for himself two splendid houses— 
York House (afterward Whitehall), and Hamptbn Court palace. At 
the beginning of his reign Henry had put to death his father’s minis¬ 
ters—Empson and Dudley—because they had so heavily taxed, the 



people. But he and Wolsey now began to force the people to lend 
or give them money, just as Henry VII. had done. 

Field of the Cloth of Gold. 

At this time the king of France and the emperor of Germany, who 
was also king of Spain and the nephew of Henry’s queen, were rivals 
for power and position. They both desired to be first among the 
monarchs of Europe; and to gain this they wished to have the friend¬ 
ship and help of king Henr)L Each sovereign sought the good offices 
of Wolsey with his master, in return for which the French king gave 
him presents, and the German emperor promised to help him to be¬ 
come pope. In 1520 the emperor Charles paid Henry a visit, and 
the king and emperor rode together to Canterbuiy. After this Henry 
crossed to France and met Francis, the French king, near Calais. Each 
king had with him a great company of nobles and gallant knights. So 
grand was the show, and so much money was spent on it, that the 
meeting-place is known as “The Field of the Cloth of Gold.” No 
good result followed this meeting. Not long afterward Wolsey made 
an alliance between Henry and the emperor, his uncle by marriage, 
against his cousin Francis, the king of France. 

Anne Boleyn. 

When Henry had lived with Catherine for about eighteen years, he 
grew tired of her, and he was also greatly disappointed that her chil¬ 
dren had all died except the princess Mary. He was afraid that if 
he himself was to die without leaving a son to succeed him there would 
be a dispute about the succession, for no woman had as yet ruled over 
England or any important European country. He also fell in love 
with one of the queen’s maids of honor, a beautiful young lady named 
Anne Boleyn, and he made up his mind to marry her. He pretended 
that he had done wrong in marrying so near a relation as his brother’s 
wife, and he asked the pope to divorce, or set him free from Catherine. 



Henry expected that the pope would do what he wished, in return 
for what he had done for the church. Only five years before he had 
written a book against Martin Luther, when that reformer was battling 
against Rome; and the pope, as a mark of favor, had given Henry the 
title of '' Defender of the Faith.'’ Henry’s request placed the pope 
in a very difficult position. He did not wish to offend Henry; but 
he was also afraid of Catherine’s nephew, Charles V., king of Spain 
and emperor of Germany. He did not know what to do between 
these two powerful sovereigns; and he asked queen Catherine to go 
quietly into a nunnery, and leave her husband to do as he pleased. 
She refused, not only on her own account, but also on that of her 
only child Mary. All this time Wolsey was also in great difficulty, 
for he wished to please both the pope and the king. He did not like 
the Boleyn marriage, but did not see how it could be prevented. At 
length the pope ordered Wolsey and another legate to try the case. 
The queen came into court, knelt before her husband, and begged 
him to have mercy on her. In the end both the legates said that the 
trial must be finished at Rome. Henry was very angry, because he 
knew the pope would not dare to offend the emperor, and that unless 
the case could be settled in England he stood little chance of getting a 

The Fall of Cardinal Wolsey. 

Both the king and Anne Boleyn believed that Wolsey had played 
false with them, and they resolved to remove him out of the way. 
The great seal was taken from him, and given to Sir Thomas More: 
and he was charged with having held the legatine, or papal, courts 
by foreign authority, contrary to the laws of England. Hoping to 
save his life, Wolsey pleaded guilty to the charge, and threw himself 
upon the king’s mercy. His splendid palace and rich furniture were 
seized for the royal use; yet the king afterward received him again, 
and restored to him the sees of York and Winchester, and above six 
thousand pounds (;^30,ooo) worth of silver plate, and other treasures. 



Additional charges were, however, soon brought against him, in the 
house of lords, where he had but few friends. 

Thomas Cromwell, who had been Wolsey’s secretary, befriended 
his disgraced master at this time, and so managed the trial in the 
house of commons that it came to nothing. This failing, Wolsey’s 
enemies had a royal order sent to him, to go into Yorkshire; and 
there he went in great state, with i6o horses in his train, and 72 carts 
following him. Wolsey lived in Yorkshire some time; but the king 
being informed that he was writing to the pope and the emperor, sent 
the earl of Northumberland to arrest him for high treason, and bring 
him up to London. 

On his way, worn-out and broken-hearted, Wolsey halted at 
Leicester, where he was taken sick, and died in the abbey. To the last 
he protested his fidelity to the king, particularly in the matter of his 
divorce, and on his death-bed uttered the following pathetic reproach 
against the monarch’s ingratitude: “ Had I served my God as dili¬ 
gently as I have served my king. He would not have given me over 
in my gray hairs!”—words that declining favorites are apt to reflect 
on, but seldom remember in the height of their fortune. 

Thomas Cranmer made Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Thomas Cranmer, a scholar of Cambridge, and Wolsey’s former 
servitor and friend, advised the king not to look to the pope for his 
divorce, but to ask advice of the learned men in the universities. 
When Henry heard this it struck him very favorably; he said, 
coarsely, that Cranmer “ had got the right sow by the ear;” and he 
asked the universities whether it was lawful for a man to marry his 
brother’s wife. The answer was “No;” and in the end Catherine was 
put away. Henry married Anne Boleyn; and Cranmer was made 
archbishop of Canterbury. The princess Mary left the court with 
her mother. She was declared to be no longer Henry’s heir. In 

the following year her step-sister Elizabeth was born. Henry 




vexed that he had no son, little thinking that his baby daughter 
Elizabeth would have a more glorious reign than that of any king 
who had yet sat upon the throne. 

The Reformation. 

We have read about Martin Luther, who tried to make things bet¬ 
ter in the church. He was living in Germany at this time, and was 
writing and preaching against the pope, bishops, and clergy for not 
ruling the church according to the Bible. It was against this teaching 
of Luther’s that Henry had written the book for which the pope made 
him Defender of the Faith. Henry had no love for the reformed 
church, and when he turned against the pope he had no thought of 
setting it up in England. 

But it happened about this time that Thomas Cromwell, who had 
been in Wolsey’s service and had become secretary to the king, found 
an old law of England, which said that any one who set the pope’s 
authority above the king’s could be punished by imprisonment and 
loss of lands. 

The King becomes the Head of the Church. 

To please the king, the clergy joined in a petition asking him to 
call himself supreme head of the church. This Henry agreed to do; 
and parliament passed laws which put an end to the pope’s authority 
in England. The Act of Supremacy, as it was called, made the king 
head of the church of England. 

Sir Thomas More was the foremost Englishman of the time. He 
was a good and just man, who served his king and country faithfully. 
He succeeded Wolsey as lord chancellor. When the king asked him 
to acknowledge the children of Anne as lawful successors to the throne 
he agreed to do so, because he knew that the king and parliament had 
a right to settle this matter as they pleased; but when he was asked 
to swear that Anne was Henry’s lawful wife, and that Henry was the 



rightful head of the church, he refused to do so ; and he and bishop 
Fisher of Rochester were sent to the Tower, charged with high trea¬ 
son, and their heads cut off with the executioner’s axe. In those days 
it was but a single step from a palace to the headsman’s block. 

Suppression of the Monasteries. 

There were in England in 1536 more than six hundred monastic 
houses. Here dwelt men and women who had taken the three vows 
of chastity, poverty, and obedience. To obtain money, Henry now 
decided to put down all the small monasteries and seize for his own 
their lands, their buildings, and everything they contained. He said 
that his reason for doing so was, that the monks and nuns who lived 
in them had become very wicked. They were therefore turned out of 
their houses, and Henry took their lands and money. 

Riots and Disorder in England. 

In the north of England the poor people had received so much 
help from the monks and nuns, that when the monasteries were put 
down they rose in rebellion. This rising was called the pilgrimage 
of grace,” because it was done in the name of religion; and a banner 
was carried before the rebel hosts on which were displayed the five 
wounds of Christ. The king found it hard to put down the revolt. 
But he pacified the people with promises which he never kept, and 
then seized the leaders and put them to death. 

A Tyrant King. 

Henry had by this time crushed out the old English freedom which 
had been obtained from other kings. The lords could do nothing, and 
the house of commons was filled with men who were chosen by the 
king’s council. Henry had power both as head of the church and as 
ruler of the land. Every one seemed to be afraid of him, for his min¬ 
ister Cromwell sent out spies, and no one felt safe. 



As time went on Henry wanted more money; so he and Cromwell 
hit upon a plan for doing away with the large monasteries as they had 
done with the smaller ones. They could not do this without giving a 
reason; so they said the monasteries were places in which much evil 
was done, and that those who lived in them were idle and wicked. 
Parliament did not agree to this all at once. It is said that Henry 
sent for a leading member of the house of commons, and laying his 
hand on the man’s head, said, “ Get my bill passed by to-morrow, little 
man, or else by to-morrow this head of yours will come off.’' It is 
needless to say, with such an inducement the bill was passed next day, 
and the work of destruction began. 

The monastic buildings throughout England were stripped of 
everything of value, and left in ruins. The windows of stained 
glass were broken, images thrown down, bells melted and cast into 
cannon, and valuable libraries torn up and sold to shopkeepers for 
wrapping-paper. Even Becket’s tomb in Canterbury, after he had 
been four hundred years in his grave, was broken open, and the valu¬ 
able jewels and rich offerings seized by the king. Most of the money 
obtained in this way was spent in pleasure, though some of it was 
used in building war-ships and new cathedrals. 

Translations of the Bible. 

The most important thing that Henry did was to order the Bible 
to be translated into English. The last translation had been made 
by Wycliffe; but the language had greatly altered since then, and 
people did not understand many of the words that were used in it. 
The Bible was therefore translated into English, because the king 
thought that it would teach them to take his side against the pope. 
In 1526 William Tyndale printed part, and ten years later Miles Cov- 
erdale printed the whole of the Bible. A copy was ordered to be placed 
in every parish church, and to be fastened with a chain so that no one 
could carry it away. 



Death of Anne Boleyn. 

Anne did not long enjoy her queenship, for the king grew tired of 
her, and wished to marry one of her maids of honor named Jane Sey¬ 
mour. To get rid of his queen, Henry said that she was not a good 
woman and a true wife. She was therefore sentenced to death and her 
head cut off. 

Jane Seymour. 

On the day after Anne’s execution, Henry married Jane Seymour. 
She did not live long enough for her husband to grow tired of her. 
She died eighteen months later, leaving one son, Edward. Elizabeth, 
the daughter of Anne, had shared the same fate as Mary, and had 
been sent away from the court. Both of them led lonely and sorrow¬ 
ful lives, feeling bitterly the treatment their mothers had received. 

Anne of Cleves. 

For some years Henry remained unmarried, and then Cromwell 
was told to look about for a fourth wife for the king. He chose a 
Protestant princess, named Anne of Cleves, sister of the duke of 
Cleves—a small domain on the Rhine—who was a very good woman. 
When she came from Germany to marry the king, he was not pleased 
with her appearance, for she was not beautiful, and he made up his 
mind at once to divorce her. She lived in England for the rest of 
her life, and was known as the lady Anne of Cleves. Henry gave her 
a house to live in, and a good yearly income. She treated the two 
princesses kindly, and Elizabeth was very fond of her. 

Fall of Thomas Cromwell. 

The divorce of Anne of Cleves brought about Cromwell’s fall. 
Henry was very angry with him for having burdened him with so 
homely a wife, and also for having failed in making an alliance with 
some foreign nations; he was therefore arrested, and a bill was brought 
into Parliament to put him to death. Cromwell himself had made 



a law forbidding persons accused of high treason to be heard in their 
own defence. He was the first to suffer by it, and had to die in 
silence. Cromwell was not a traitor to the king, though to please 
him he had made himself a traitor to English liberty and an oppressor 
of the people; but he did not, like Wolsey, become rich with the coun¬ 
try’s money. He gave laws to Wales, and made the two countries one. 

Catherine Howard—The Six Articles of Religion. 

After Cromwell’s death, Henry married Catherine Howard, the 
beautiful niece of the duke of Norfolk. She was a Roman Catholic, 
and Henry at this time passed a law against Protestants. On one 
occasion a cart carried six men to execution. Three of them were 
Roman Catholics, who refused to own the king as head of the church, 
and three were Protestants, who refused to believe all that the king 
ordered to be taught in what is called the Six Articles. These were 
—(i) the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the bread 
and wine in the holy communion; (2) in the communion the bread 
only was to be given to those not priests; (3) monks and nuns must 
remain unmarried; (4) private masses should be said; (5) priests 
should remain unmarried; and (6) confession to a priest was neces¬ 
sary for salvation. 

Henry Marries his Sixth Wife, who Outlives Him. 

In less than two years Henry’s fifth queen, Catherine Howard, was 
beheaded, charged with misconduct before her marriage,—an excuse 
considered sufficient to rid the king of a partner of whom he had 
become tired. In the following year Henry married Catherine Parr, 
who was so fortunate as to live longer than he did. She was once 
on the verge of being sent to the Tower for not agreeing with her 
husband in matters of religion; but she was clever enough to make 
peace with him and so save her life. 

Before Henry died, his temper grew so savage that no one dared 



to oppose him in anything. Me was so ill and weak in body, and yet 
so heavy and stout, that he could not move about without help. One 
of the last things that he did was to order the duke of Norfolk and 
his son, the earl of Surrey, to the Tower. Surrey was a poet, and a 
brave, good young man; his death was mourned by all. Norfolk’s 
life was saved by Henry’s death. In his will, Henry said that his 
son Edward was to succeed him ; and if he died without children, 
Mary was to be queen; and after her Elizabeth. In this way he 
owned the two princesses as his lawful daughters. 




In order to trace the slow development of religious reform, it will 
now be necessary to turn back to the beginning of Henry VIII.’s 
reign, and to give a short account of the state of religion in England 
at that time. 

Although 'kept under by persecution, a spirit of inquiry into the 
principles of religious faith, and dissatisfaction with the arbitrary rule 
of a foreign and often corrupt priesthood, was roused in England. 
Numerous little societies or “ brethren in Christ,” as they called them¬ 
selves, met together as often as they dared to hear the reading of the 

Travelling preachers ministered to these lowly congregations,— 
many parts of England being familiar with the care-worn, weather¬ 
beaten faces of these humble apostles of Bible truth. Being almost 
entirely of the poorer class, and having learned by the bitter experi¬ 
ence of former persecution to observe the greatest caution and secrecy, 
the members of these little communities increased in numbers so 
quietly as not to be noticed by their powerful foes. They might, 
indeed, have continued to practise their forms of worship without 
attracting attention, had it not been for the zeal of some among them 
who sought to make converts too openly. 

Persecution Begins. 

Thomas Mann, one of their preachers, who suffered death under 

the charge of heresy, in 1518, is reported in the bishops’ record of his 


trial as, “ confessing’ that he hath turned seven hundred people to his 
religion ; for which he thanketh God.” Such an increase in numbers 
could not be allowed to go on unchecked by the powers of the church. 
The Lollards were tracked to the lonely, unfrequented places where 
they met, often under shadow of night, to worship God. Neighbor 
was made to spy upon neighbor; husbands and wives, parents and 
children, brothers and sisters, were beguiled or forced to bear witness 
against each other. The Lollards’ prison again echoed with the clank¬ 
ing of chains; the rack and the stake once more claimed their victims. 

One of the most common charges against the Lollards of this 
period was the possession of some portion of Wycliffe’s Bible, and 
the ability to read it and to repeat from it by heart. Among those 
arrested as suspected heretics, between the years 1509 and 1517, five 
persons were charged with having met together secretly to read “ cer¬ 
tain chapters of the Evangelists in English, containing in them ”— 
such was the opinion of the learned bishops—divers erroneous and 
damnable doctrines and arguments in favor of heresy.” 

Christopher Shoemaker and Others Burned. 

One Christopher Shoemaker, who was burned alive at Newbury, 
was accused of having gone to the house of John Say, and “ read to 
him, out of a book, the words which Christ spake to his disciples.” 
In 1519 seven martyrs were burned in one fire at-Coventry, ''for hav¬ 
ing taught their children and servants the Lord’s prayer and the ten 
commandments in English.” 

The book of record of trials kept by Longland, bishop of Lincoln, 
for the single year 1521, contains a list of one hundred names of per¬ 
sons charged before him with reading, or repeating, portions of the 
Scriptures in the English language. Jenkin Butler accused his own 
brother of reading to him a certain book of Scripture, and persuading 
him to hearken to the same. John Barret, goldsmith, of London, was 
arrested for having recited to his wife and maid-servant the Epistle of 



St. James, without a book. John Thatcher was accused of teaching 
Alice Brown this saying of Jesus: “ Blessed are they that hear the 
word of God and keep it.” Thomas Philip and Lawrence Taylor were 
arrested for reading the Epistle to the Romans and the first chapter of 
St. Luke in English. Cuthbert, bishop of London, sitting as judge in 
the chapel within his palace, at London, warned John Pykas, who con¬ 
fessed that about five years ago, at a certain time, his mother then 
dwelling at Bury, sent for him, and admonished him that he should not 
believe in the sacraments of the church, for that was not the right way. 
And then she gave to him one book of St. Paul’s epistles, in English, 
written with the pen, and bid him live after the manner and way of 
said epistle and Gospels, and not after the way the church doth teach.” 
John Tyball was accused before this same bishop of having had “ cer¬ 
tain of St. Paul’s epistles in the old translation.” In 1529, John Tukes- 
bury, a leather merchant, a respectable citizen of the city of London, 
confessed to having in his possession a manuscript copy of the Bible, 
and that he had studied therein. 

Scarcity of Bibles in England. 

So scanty was the supply of Bibles at this time, that but few of 
those who craved its teaching could hope to possess the sacred volume. 
But this lack was partly made up by the earnestness of those whose 
interest was awakened in the Bible. If only a single copy was owned 
in a neighborhood, these hard-working laborers and artisans would be 
found together, after a weary day of toil, reading in turn, and listen¬ 
ing to the words of life; and so sweet was the refreshment to their 
spirits, that sometimes the morning light surprised them with its call 
to a new day of labor, before they had thought of sleep. Their high¬ 
est aim was to possess for their own some portion of the sacred book. 

It is related that one man among them gave a load of hay for a 
few chapters of St. Paul’s epistles. Some were known to have devoted 
the savings of years to this object. When it is considered that copy- 



ing with the pen was as yet the usual means of reproducing books in 
England—although Gutenburg’s rude press had been for a long time 
in use in Germany—it can be readily understood that the actual cost 
of a Bible must have been great. It required ten months’ steady 
work by a skilled copyist to write the manuscript, and a sum equal to 
two hundred dollars (an amount of greater importance then than now), 
was the common price for a single copy. 

Many of these poor Lollards, who were held in contempt by the 
rich and great, were superior to those who looked down upon them. 
In the intelligence of their belief, in their sense of the true worth and 
destiny of man, in their thirst for knowledge, as well as in purity of 
manners and ardor of piety, they were, as a body, in advance of the 
highest ranks of both clergy and laity. As a class, they were the 
advocates in a period of darkness and slavery to priestcraft, of the 
freedom of the human mind, of the rights of conscience, and of the 
supreme authority of the holy Scriptures. Among the causes which 
led to the English Reformation, their influence and example must be 
given an important place. 

The King’s Early Subservience to Rome. 

During the early part of the reign of Henry VIIL, England as a 
nation was still an obedient-servant of Rome. The king, who had 
been, of course, brought up in the Romish faith, even seemed desirous, 
after taking the throne, of surpassing the monarchs of earlier times 
in humbling the kingdom before the papal footstool. A golden rose, 
touched by the pope’s finger, and sent to the king as a token of regard 
and approval, was in his opinion a full return for the richly salaried 
church offices freely given to the pope, to be portioned out by him 
among a horde of greedy Italians. 

But the dawn of a new day, which had already shed its light upon 
continental Europe, could not be wholly shut out from England. 
Even before Luther had begun his work of reform, a more liberal 



style of learning had been introduced into the English universities, 
which exerted a powerful influence in sweeping away old superstitions. 

The Study of Ancient Languages: Its Important Influence on 

THE Bible. 

It must be borne in mind that up to this time the English Scrip¬ 
tures had been translated not from the ancient and original Greek and 
Hebrew manuscripts, but from the Latin Bible of Jerome—the Vul¬ 
gate—which itself, as has already been told, was only a translation. 
For many centuries Greek was an unknown tongue in western 
Europe; it had not been taught in the colleges, and therefore the 
written treasures of past ages, which had been preserved in that 
language, were not used in the study of ancient history. 

But now, Erasmus of Holland, one of the greatest scholars of his 
day, took up the study of Greek and brought out a Greek Testament 
based upon the ancient manuscripts. Owing to his labors and those of 
a few English scholars, Greek professorships began to be established 
in the universities; the New Testament in the original was studied by 
a considerable number, and public lectures were read on some por¬ 
tions of it. The Hebrew language also began to receive attention 
by men who perceived that the records of the past could be found 
much more correctly recorded in the languages which were spoken 
at, or near, the time the events took place, than in translations of 
them made at later periods. 

Opposition of Rome to the '' New Learning.’' 

The new learning,” as it was called, found little favor from the 
great body of the clergy. With the quick instinct of birds of night, 
they perceived afar off the dreaded approach of day. A persecution 
for heresy by the bishop of London interrupted Dr. John Collet’s 
lectures on St. Paul’s epistles, delivered at Oxford, and the scholar 
only escaped through the friendship of archbishop Warham, who 



dismissed the case without trial. When the Greek Testament of 
Erasmus made its appearance, in 1519, a terrible hue and cry arose 
among the clergy. Priests used their influence at the confessional 
to warn the young against it; and in one college, at Cambridge, it 
was forbidden to bring the dangerous book within the walls. 

Standish, afterward bishop of St. Asaph, begged the king, on 
his knees, to put down Erasmus. The monks were especially bitter 
in their opposition, declaring from the pulpit, that there was a new 
language invented, called Greek, of which people should beware as 
it was the source of all heresies: that in this language had come 
forth a book, called the New Testament, which was full of thorns 
and briars; that there was also another language started up which 
they called Hebrew, and that they who learned it were turned 
Jews;”—not exactly the view that is taken at the present day of a 
classical education! 

But the spirit of inquiry and craving for truth in matters of re¬ 
ligion was too strong to be thus put down. Henry VIII., brutal 
tyrant and slave of passion as he afterward became, was, from the 
beginning of his reign, openly in favor of the new learning; for he 
was not only himself a fair scholar, but was ambitious to be known 
as a patron of students. He, therefore, not only encouraged classical 
research, but by a royal command required that the study of the 
Scriptures, in the original languages, should henceforth be a regular 
branch of academic instruction at Oxford. 

The First Printing-press Set Up in England. 

Meanwhile, books began to be circulated more freely throughout 
the land, and by promoting general intelligence increased the disaffec¬ 
tion of all classes toward the Romish clergy. Caxton, the first Eng¬ 
lish printer, who had learned the art in Germany, set up his press at 
Westminster, and numerous tracts and pamphlets, exposing the errors 
and vices of the priesthood, began to pass from hand to hand. 



Luther’s powerful protests against the corruption of the Romish 
clergy also resounded throughout Europe, and in spite of the watch¬ 
ful eyes of the officials of the church, translations of his writings were 
made in England. 

Thus, long before Henry VIII. withdrew from his allegiance to 
Rome, through seeking to gratify his own evil desires, the way was 
being prepared for a reform more thorough and complete—^based 
upon conscientious grounds, and indicating a change in the opinions 
and beliefs of the people of England. To that true reform, the king 
was, perhaps, no less an enemy than the pope himself; and it worked 
its way onward against the whole force of his despotic will. The Bible 
was to be again, as it had been in Wycliffe’s day more than one hun¬ 
dred years before, the mighty instrument by which this revolution in 
the minds of men was to be effected. 


His Great Work of Translating and Printing the Bible. 

At this time came forth the man who was destined to use the new 
learning,” or power to translate the ancient manuscripts, with marvel¬ 
lous effect in the service of the English Bible. In 1483, William 
Tyndale was born. He grew up a thoughtful, studious youth, and 
at an early age won for himself at Oxford a distinguished position 
for scholarship. Moving to Cambridge, he became acquainted with 
Erasmus, the great Greek scholar, who had just completed his Greek 
Testament. Tyndale quickly made himself familiar with this wonder¬ 
ful new book. He took it up probably at first as a curious work 
of scholarship, but he soon found that there was more in it than 
that, and he read again and again, with ever-deepening interest, the 
wondrous revelation of the love of God to man, till his spirit was 
stirred to its depths. 

Tyndale could not keep his treasure to himself He argued with 



the priests, and exhorted them to the study of the Scriptures for 
themselves; and it was about this time that, one day, in the heat of ^ 

argument, he startled all around by his memorable declaration, the 
fulfilment of which was afterward the object of his life. Tyndale’s 
opponent had said, “ We had better be without God’s laws than the 
pope’s.” Rising in indignant protest Tyndale cried, “ I defy the pope, 
and all his laws; and if God spare me I will one day make the boy 
that drives the plough in England to know more of Scripture than 
the pope himself!” 

Tyndale set to work to translate some portions of the original 
Greek, and applied to Cuthbert Tonstal, bishop of London, for per¬ 
mission to carry on his work in his palace. Although the bishop was 
a patron of learning, the translation of the Scriptures was far from 
meeting his approval. So he replied, coldly, that there was no room 
in his palace for anything of the kind. Tyndale, however, came to 
London and lodged for nearly a year in the house of Humphrey 
Monmouth, a merchant, where he quietly pursued his task. 

But this one year of city life showed Tyndale that no mercy would 
be given by the clergy to any movement that would disturb their 
quiet. He saw men around him led to prison and to death for own¬ 
ing, or reading, a copy of Luther’s writings, and he knew well that 
a Bible translation would be considered a still more dangerous book. 

“ Whe'refore,” he sadly says, I perceived that not only in the bishop 
of London’s palace, but in all England, there was no room for 
attempting a translation of the Scriptures.” 

Tyndale leaves England and goes to Germany. 

But Tyndale was not one of those who, having put their hands to 
the plough, look back. He had determined that England should have 
the word of God spread among her people by means of the new 
invention of printing, and he had calmly counted the cost. If his 
work could be done in England, well; if not—if only a life of exile 



could accomplish it—then that life of exile he would cheerfully bear. 
So in 1524 he left his native land, never to see it again; and at 
Hamburg, Germany, in poverty and distress, and amid constant 
danger, the self-sacrificing exile worked at his translation. So dili¬ 
gent was he that in the following year he was able to take the sheets 
he had written, containing the New Testament in English, to a printer 
at the city of Cologne, to be set in type. 

But a sad disappointment was in store for the brave-hearted trans¬ 
lator. He had kept his secret well, and hoped that in a few months 
more his little book would be scattered in thousands through the 
length and breadth of England. But just as his hopes were highest, 
there came to him one day a hurried message. Half distracted he 
rushed to the printer’s house, seized all the sheets he could lay his 
hands on, and fled from the town. A priest named Cochlaeus had 
overheard the talk of some printers which roused his suspicions, 
and by giving them plenty of wine to drink the startling secret at 
length came out, that an English New Testament was actually in 
the press, and already nearly finished. Quite horrified at such a con¬ 
spiracy, the priest at once gave information to the magistrates, and 
demanded that the sheets should be seized, while he at the same time 
sent a messenger to the English bishops warning them of this unex¬ 
pected danger. This was the cause of Tyndale’s sudden flight. 

With his precious sheets Tyndale escaped to the city of Worms, 
where the enthusiasm for Luther and the Reformation was then at 
its height, and there he at last accomplished his design, producing 
for the first time a complete, printed New Testament in English. 
Knowing of the information that Cochlseus had given, and that in 
consequence the books would be jealously watched, Tyndale printed 
also an edition of smaller size than the first, copies of which could 
be more easily hidden. He then began to ship his dangerous mer¬ 
chandise to England. In boxes, in barrels, in bales of cloth, in sacks 
of flour; every secret way that could be thought of was used in order 



to send the books safely to their destination, and in spite of the utmost 
care of tiie clergy in watching the ports, many of them were safely 
delivered, and scattered far and wide through the country. 

Burning Tyndale’s Testaments in England. 

Great was the commotion they created among the hostile clergy, 
Wycliffe’s testaments had been troublesome enough, even though it 
took months to write out a single copy, and the cost prevented any 
but the rich buying it. But here were books pouring into the country 
which could be printed at the rate of hundreds each day, and at a 
price within the reach of all. Vigorous measures indeed were 

The warning of Cochlaeus had set the clergy on their guard, and 
every port was carefully watched by officers appointed for the pur¬ 
pose. Thousands of copies were thus discovered in their hiding- 
places, and were burned with solemn ceremony at St. Paul’s Cross, 
in the city of London. This was called “ a burnt-offering most pleas¬ 
ing to Almighty God.” But still other thousands supplied the places 
of those destroyed, for Tyndale was not discouraged at their efforts; 
he knew that the printing-press could defy them all. Said he, “ In 
burning the book they did none other thing than I looked for; no 
more shall they do if they burn me also, if it be God’s will that it 
should be so.” 

It soon became clear to the church officers, that they could not 
hinder the entrance of the book into England. And then a new idea 
occurred to the bishop of London. He sought out Augustine Paking- 
ton, a merchant trading to Antwerp, and asked his opinion whether 
it would not be possible to buy up all the copies across the water and 
thus get them out of the way. 

'' My lord,” replied Pakington, who was a secret friend of Tyndale, 
if it be your pleasure I could do in this matter probably more than 
any merchant in England; so if it be your lordship’s desire to pay 




for them—for I must disburse money for them—I will be sure to get 
for you every book that remains unsold.” 

“ Good Master Pakington,” said the bishop, “ do your diligence 
and get them for me, and I will gladly give you whatever they may 
cost, for the books are naughty, and I intend surely to destroy them 
all, and to burn them at St. Pauks Cross.” 

A few weeks later Pakington entered the humble lodging of 
Tyndale, whose funds he knew were at a low ebb. 

Master Tyndale,” said he, “ I have found you a good purchaser 
for your books.” 

Who is he ?” asked Tyndale. 

“ My lord bishop of London.” 

“ But if the bishop wants the books it must be only to burn 

“Well,” was the reply of the shrewd merchant, “what of that? 
The bishop will burn them anyhow, and it is best that you should 
have the money to print others instead.” 

And so the bargain was made: “ The bishop had the books, 
Pakington had the thanks, and Tyndale had the money.” 

“ I am the gladder,” quoth Tyndale, “ for these two benefits shall 
come of it: I shall get money to bring myself out of debt, and the 
whole world will cry out against the burning of God’s word. The 
overplus of the money that remains shall enable me to correct the 
said New Testament, and then newly to print the same again, and 
I trust the second will be much better than ever was the first that 
I printed.” 

After this the newly printed Testaments came thick and fast into 
England. The bishop then sent for Pakington again, and asked how 
it came that the books were still so abundant. “ My lord,” replied 
the merchant, “ truly I think it were best for you to buy up the 
stamps too by which they are imprinted.” That this advice was not 
followed it is needless to state. 




Tyndale’s Enemies say His Book is Full of Errors. 

The enemies of Tyndale began at last to see that a Testament 
which was set in type and continually printed was beyond their power 
to destroy. Bishop Tonstal profited by his lesson, and instead of 
buying and burning any more of the books, he preached a famous 
sermon at Paul’s Cross, declaring its naughtiness,” and asserting 
that he himself had found in it more than two thousand errors, and 
at the close of his sermon he hurled the copy which he held into 
a great fire that blazed before him. 

Sir Thomas More, whose influence was deservedly great in Eng¬ 
land, followed up the attack. “ To study to find errors in Tyndale’s 
book,” he said, “ were like studying to find water in the sea.” It was 
even too bad for revising and amending, for it is easier to make a 
web of new cloth than it is to sew up every hole in a net.” Tyndale 
indignantly replied to this attack; and certainly his opponent did not 
show to advantage in the argument, his sweeping charge narrowing 
itself down at the last to the mistranslation of half a dozen words. 

But such attacks, made from different pulpits throughout the land, 
were much more effective than the previous stupid measures adopted 
against the Bible, chiefly because the people could seldom hear Tyn¬ 
dale’s answer. But this was not always so. The friends of the Refor¬ 
mation were increasing in England, and they as well as Tyndale de¬ 
fended the book when they could, and generally with success. 

Latimer Defends the Scriptures. 

In 1529 Latimer had preached at Cambridge his celebrated ser¬ 
mons On the Card,” which attracted a good deal of attention, argu¬ 
ing in favor of the translation and universal reading of holy Scripture. 
The friars were enraged, and the more so as his reasoning was so diffi¬ 
cult to answer. At length they selected a champion. Friar Bucking¬ 
ham ; and certainly, if he may be taken as a type of the friars of his 
day, the reformers’ sneers at their ignorance were not without grounds. 



A Sunday was fixed on which he was to demolish the arguments of 
Latimer, and on the appointed day the people assembled, and a ser¬ 
mon against Bible translation was preached which reads to us now 
more like jest than sober argument. 

“ Thus,” asked the preacher with a triumphant smile, '' where Scrip¬ 
ture saith ‘ No man that layeth his hand to the plough and looketh back 
is fit for the kingdom of God,’ will not the ploughman when he readeth 
these words be apt forthwith to cease from his plough, and then where 
will be the sowing and the harvest ? Likewise also whereas the baker 
readeth, ‘ A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,’ will he not be 
forthwith too sparing in the use of leaven, to the great injury of our 
health. And so also when the simple man reads the words, ‘ If thine 
eye offend thee pluck it out and cast it from thee,’ incontinent he will 
pluck out his eyes, and the whole realm will be full of blind men, to 
the great decay of the nation and the manifest loss of the king’s grace. 
And thus by reading of the holy Scriptures will the whole realm come 
into confusion.” 

The next Sunday St. Edward’s church was crowded to suffocation, 
for the report had gone abroad that Latimer was to make a reply to the 
friar’s sermon. At the close of the prayers the old man ascended the 
pulpit, and amid breathless silence the sermon began—such a crushing, 
scathing rebuke as Buckingham and his party never recovered from in 
Cambridge. One by one the arguments were ridiculed as too foolish 
for a really serious reply. “ Only children and fools,” he said, “ fail to 
distinguish between the figurative and the real meanings of language 
—between the image which is used and the thing which that image is 
intended to represent. For example,” he continued, with a withering 
glance at his opponent, who sat before the pulpit, '' if we paint a fox 
preaching in a friar’s hood, nobody imagines that a fox is meant, but 
that craft and hypocrisy are described, which so often are found dis¬ 
guised in that garb.” 

It was evident, too, that many of the people sympathized with the 



reformers in such contests. Day by day it became clearer now that 
the tide of public opinion in England was setting too strongly to be 
resisted in favor of a ‘‘people’s Bible.” In spite of all opposition the 
book was being everywhere talked about and read. “ It passeth my 
power,” writes Bishop Nikke, complaining to the primate, “ it passeth 
my power, or that of any spiritual man, to hinder it now, and if this 
continue much longer it will undo us all.” There was no room for 
questioning about it. The path of the Bible was open at last. Not 
king nor pope could stay its progress. Over England’s long night of 
error and superstition and soul-crushing despotism God had said, 
“ Let there be light!” and there was light. 

A Plot to Take Tyndale. 

But Tyndale himself did not see that day. For years efforts had 
been made to take him, but all attempts had failed. Toward the close 
of 1534, however, a new plot was made against his life. 

The men sent on this dastardly errand were better chosen than 
those formerly employed by the king, being merely hired ruffians, 
with no character to lose, and no other business to divert them from 
their purpose. There were two of them: the one a young man of 
good appearance, but bad character, named Henry Phillips, who was 
to play the part of a gentleman; the other was Gabriel Donne, a 
monk of Stratford abbey, who, it was arranged, should pass as the 
servant of Phillips. They were supplied with plenty of money by 
their employers. Donne first went to Louvain; here he was joined 
by Phillips, and both proceeded to Antwerp. 

Tyndale was at this time living in the house of an English mer¬ 
chant of Antwerp, named Pointz, a lover of the Scriptures and a 
warm friend of Tyndale’s. Into this house Phillips found easy 
access, and his engaging manners and pretended friendship soon 
won the confidence of the unsuspecting old man whom he sought 
treacherously to betray. Not only did Tyndale invite the base spy 



frequently to the table of his host, but even persuaded Mr. Pointz 
to receive him as a lodger. The intimate daily intercourse thus 
established, was diligently used by Phillips to become acquainted 
with everything in Tyndale’s life and writings which could be used 
against him. 

Having secured all necessary information, Phillips at last began 
quietly to take steps for bringing the matter to an end. He first 
cautiously investigated the chances of securing Tyndale’s arrest 
through the Antwerp city government, but failing to get any en¬ 
couragement he made no application to the Antwerp magistracy; 
he went instead to the court of Brussels, about thirty miles distant, 
where he succeeded in obtaining a favorable hearing. 

Returning to Antwerp, Phillips brought with him the emperor’s 
attorney, for the purpose of arresting Tyndale. Yet even the imperial 
officials dared not seize an Englishman openly in the free city of 
Antwerp, where the wealthy and numerous English merchants formed 
a strong party in favor of the Reformation. Some time, therefore, 
passed without action, but at length Pointz left home to attend a great 
fair, held at Barrow, and the favorable moment was judged to have 

Tyndale’s Treacherous Seizure. 

Phillips went to the merchant’s house, and asking for Tyndale, 
was told by Mrs. Pointz that he could dine there with him. Agreeing 
to this, Phillips went out and ordered the sheriff’s men, whom he had 
brought with him from Brussels, to stand by the door. Then going 
up to Tyndale’s room he asked him to lend him forty shillings ; for,” 
said he, “ I lost my purse this morning.” 

So Tyndale, who was ever ready to give to those who asked him, 
providing he had it, handed Phillips the money. Then Phillips said, 
“ I will dine here with you to-day and you must let me provide the 

“ No,” said Tyndale, “ I go forth this day to dinner, and you shall 


go with me, and be my guest, where you shall be welcome/’ So 
when it was dinner-time, Tyndale prepared to leave the house with 
Phillips, and in going through the passage-way, which was narrow, 
would have put his guest before him, but Phillips, making a pretence 
of courtesy, would not have it so; therefore Tyndale went first and 
his enemy followed after. 

Now the sheriff’s officers stood about the door, waiting for their 
innocent victim to come out; and as soon as Tyndale appeared Phillips 
pointed at him with his finger, behind his back, as a sign to the 
officers that it was he whom they should take. So helpless was the 
old man, and so treacherous his seizure, that the very men themselves, 
as they afterward told Pointz, pitied his simplicity even while they 
laid hands on him. 

Tyndale is Taken to Prison. 

Tyndale was at once hurried to the dungeons of the castle of Vil- 
vorde, eighteen miles from Antwerp, and all his books and writings 
were placed in the hands of the emperor’s attorney. His friends in 
Antwerp, as soon as they heard of his arrest, tried their utmost to 
secure his release; but it was in vain: there was no hope of his escape 
from the time the prison doors closed upon him. 

It is pitiful to read of the poor prisoner there, in his cold and 
misery and rags, writing to the governor to beg “your lordship that 
if I am to remain here during the winter, you will request the pro- 
cureur to be kind enough to send me from my goods which he has 
in his possession a warmer cap, for I suffer extremely from a perpetual 
catarrh, which is much increased by this cell. A warmer coat also, 
for that which I have is very thin; also a piece of cloth to patch my 
leggings—my shirts too are worn out.” 

Nearly two years thus passed away. By that time, all things being 
ripe, Tyndale’s enemies pushed the matter to a conclusion. He was 
brought before the court at Brussels, accused of heresy, and refusing 



the aid of counsel, answered the charges himself. His judges were 
therefore compelled to listen to an exposition of the truth such as 
they had seldom heard; but they had met to condemn, not to be 
convinced, and found no difficulty in pronouncing him guilty. Long 
before this time Tyndale had said with sad foreboding, when hearing 
of the persecution under which his friends in England suffered, “ If 
they burn me also, they shall do none other thing than I look for,” 
and now his prediction was to be realized. 

Death of Tyndale. 

On Friday, the 6th of October, 1536, William Tyndale was led 
forth to die. Having been bound to the stake, he was first strangled, 
and his dead body then burned to ashes. His last words, uttered 
with fervent zeal, and in a loud voice, were these: ” Lord, open the 
king of England’s eyes!” Thus perished, a victim to priestcraft, the 
purest of England’s patriots—the best and greatest man of his 

There is no grander life in the whole annals of the Reformation 
than that of William Tyndale—none which comes nearer in its 
beautiful self-forgetfulness to His who laid down His life for His 
sheep.” Many a man has suffered in order that a great cause might 
conquer by means of himself No such thought sullied the self-devo¬ 
tion of Tyndale. He issued his earlier editions of the New Testament 
without a name, following the counsel of Christ which exhorteth 
men to do their good deeds secretly.” I assure you,” said he to 
Vaughan, the envoy of the king, if it would stand with the king’s 
most gracious pleasure to grant a translation of the Scripture to be 
put forth among his people like as it is put forth among the subjects 
of the emperor here, be it the translation of whatsoever person he 
pleases, I shall immediately make faithful promises never to write 
more nor abide two days in these parts after the same, but immediately 
repair unto his realm, and there humbly submit myself at the feet of 


his royal majesty, ofifering my body to suffer what pain or torture, yea, 
what death his grace wills, so that this be obtained.” 

Poverty and distress and misrepresentation were his constant lot; 
imprisonment and death were ever staring him in the face; but “ none 
of these things moved him, neither counted he his life dear unto him ” 
for the accomplishment of the work which God had set him. 

No higher honor could be given to any man than to be selected 
for such a work, and among all the heroes of the Reformation none 
worthier of that honor could be found than William Tyndale. 

Value of Tyndale’s Translation. 

Before Tyndale’s day the English versions of the Bible had been 
but translations of a translation, being derived from the Vulgate or 
older Latin versions. Tyndale, for the first time, went back to the 
original Hebrew and Greek. And not only did he go back to the 
original languages seeking for the truth, but he embodied that truth 
when found in so noble a translation that it has ever since been 
deemed wise by scholars and revisers to make but few changes in 
it; consequently every succeeding version is in reality little more 
than a revision of Tyndale’s. It has been truly said that “ the pecu¬ 
liar genius which breathes through the English Bible, the mingled 
tenderness and majesty, the Saxon simplicity, the grandeur—un¬ 
equalled, unapproached in the attempted improvements of modern 
scholars—all are here, and bear the impress of the mind of one 
man, and that man William Tyndale.” 

The New Testament was the work to which he chiefly devoted 
himself, bringing out edition after edition as he saw anything to be 
improved. Of the Old Testament he translated only the Pentateuch, 
the historical books, and part of the prophets. 

Later English Bibles. 

Only three years passed by, after Tyndale’s cruel death, and a great 




change had come over England. The Reformation gained ground 
among clergy and laity. The king, who had openly quarreled with 
the pope, no longer opposed the desire of his subjects for a peo¬ 
ple’s Bible.” Myles Coverdale, the man who after Tyndale played 
the most prominent part of any in the history of the English Bible, 
was the first man to translate and publish the entire Bible in the 
English language. 

Unlike his great predecessor, Tyndale, whose work was inspired 
solely by religious enthusiasm and self-devotion, Coverdale’s trans¬ 
lation was made by the order, and with the encouragement of others; 
his chief supporters being Sir Thomas More, and Lord Thomas Crom¬ 
well the minister of king Henry VIII. Coverdale was also a man of 
very different stamp from Tyndale. He had neither his ability nor 
strength of character, nor was he, like him, qualified by lifelong study 
for his task as a translator, and the difference comes markedly out in 
the work produced by each. But it is only fair to say, that he was 
quite conscious of his defects, and that he did the work before him 
to the best of his ability, “ seeking it not, neither desiring it,” but feel¬ 
ing that his country needed it done, and modestly regretting that no 
better man was there to do it. 

Coverdale’s Bible makes no pretence to be an original translation; 
it is translated out of German and Latin into English,” with the help 
of five sundry interpreters ” (translators), and the chief of these “ in¬ 
terpreters ” is evidently William Tyndale, whom, in the New Testa¬ 
ment especially, he closely follows. 

Like his predecessor, Tyndale, Coverdale also suffered from the 
fierce opposition of the priesthood against the translators and pub¬ 
lishers of the Bible, while the many changes in the policy of the gov¬ 
ernment placed him in frequent peril. He escaped all these dangers 
however, and lived to the good old age of eighty-one. 

Many different editions and translations of the Bible quickly fol¬ 
lowed that of Coverdale. Instead of being secretly printed in foreign 



lands and shipped to England, hidden in bales of merchandise, 
the Bible was openly printed in London. Of the “ Great ” Bible or 
“ Cromwell ” Bible, which lord Thomas Cromwell had published, 
seven editions were printed between the years 1539 to 1541, and a 
copy of the Bible was ordered to be placed in every parish church, 
fastened with a chain so that no one could carry it away. 

The Authorized Version : Our Bible of To-day. 

Seventy years after Tyndale’s death a king of England himself 
directed a new translation and revision of the Bible. In 1604, king 
James 1 . held a conference of bishops and clergy, and among other sub¬ 
jects considered by them was that of revising the defective translations 
of the Scriptures then in use in England. The best scholars of the 
day were selected to do the work. The revisers were divided into 
six companies, each of which took its own portion, and every aid 
obtainable was furnished to make their work a success. They care¬ 
fully studied the Greek and Hebrew; they used the best commen¬ 
taries of European scholars; the Bibles in Spanish, Italian, French, 
and German were examined for any help they might afford in arriving 
at the exact sense of each passage; and when the sense was found, 
no pains were spared to express it in clear vigorous, idiomatic Eng¬ 
lish. All the excellences of the previous versions were noted, for the 
purpose of incorporating them in the work, and for the expressive 
phrases they contained. ‘‘ Neither,'' says Dr. Miles Smith, in the 
preface, “ did we disdain to revise that which we had done, and to 
bring back to the anvil that which we had hammered, fearing no re¬ 
proach for slowness nor coveting praise for expeditionand the result 
was the production of the splendid Authorized Version of which all 
English speaking people to-day are so justly proud. 

For nearly three centuries English Protestants have reverenced 
the grace and dignity, the flowing words, the masterly English style 
of the king James version of the Bible. It dwells on the ear like 



music that can never be forgotten, or like the sound of a sweet-toned 
bell thrills the hearts of Christians by its melody. 

Last of all in the list of the editions of the Bible comes the new 
Revised Version, which is the work of scholars of our own time. It 
marks one further step onward in the revision and correction of the 
holy Scriptures. 



Martyrs Burned at the Stake.—Story of Thomas Bilney. 

Thomas Bilney was a student of Cambridge university. After 
leaving there he took upon himself to preach, and in his sermons 
spoke with great boldness against the pride and insolence of the 
clergy. This was during the ministry of cardinal Wolsey, who hear¬ 
ing of his preaching, ordered him to be seized and imprisoned. Being 
at first overcome with fear, Bilney recanted, was pardoned, ^and 
returned to Cambridge. But it is told of him that here he fell into 
great horror of mind; repenting of his unfaithfulness and denial of 
the truth.’' Bilney soon determined, in order to ease his conscience, to 
make a public profession of faith. He prepared for this by studying 
the Scriptures with deep attention for two years; after which he left 
Cambridge and went into Norfolk. Here he preached against idolatry 
and superstition; exhorting the people to lead good lives, to give 
alms, and to believe in Christ. He openly confessed his own sin of 
denying the faith; and using no precaution as he went about, was 
soon taken by the bishop’s officers, condemned as a relapsed heretic, 
and sentenced to the stake. 

Sir Thomas More sent down from London the warrant to burn Bil¬ 
ney. Parker, afterwards archbishop, was an eye-witness of his suffer¬ 
ings, and affirms that he bore them with great fortitude and resignation, 
and continued very cheerful after his sentence. He ate the poor food 
that was brought him with a hearty appetite, saying he must keep up 
the poor dwelling, meaning his body, till it fell. He had these words 
of Isaiah often in his mouth, “ When thou walkest through the fire, 




thou shalt not be burnedand by putting his finger in the candle 
he prepared himself for the pain at the stake; saying, the fire would 
only consume the stubble of his body, and would purify his soul. 

When Bilney was brought to the stake, he repeated the creed, 
prayed earnestly, and with deep feeling uttered these words, “ Enter 
not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord!’' Dr. Warner, who at¬ 
tended, embraced him, shedding many tears, and saying he wished he 
might die in as good a frame of mind. Two priests who were there 
asked him to tell the people that they were not themselves responsible 
for his death, which he did; so that the last act of his life was one 
of charity and forgiveness. The sheriff’s men then put the reeds and 
fagots about his body, and set fire to the reeds, which made a great 
blaze, and blackened his face; but the flames were blown away from 
him several times, the wind being very high, till at length, the wood 
taking fire, the flame was stronger, and so he yielded up the ghost. 
The martyr’s lifeless body hung down on the chain, till one of the 
officers, with his halbert, struck out the staple of the chain behind, 
when it fell down into the bottom of the fire, and was covered with 
wood, and consumed. 

Martyrdom of John Brown. 

John Brown was burned at Ashford, in Kent, by order of arch¬ 
bishop Warham. The following is the story of his arrest. Brown 
was travelling down the river Thames, by barge. A priest was among 
the passengers, who took offence at Brown’s sitting so near him in the 
boat, and asked him, in a loud voice, Dost thou know who I am ? 
Thou sittest too near me; thou even sittest on my clothes.” “ No, 
sir/’ said Brown, I know not what you are.” '' I will tell thee then,” 
replied he; I am a priest.” After some further conversation had 
passed between them, in which Brown failed to show that respect 
which his neighbor considered his due, the priest cried out, Go thy 
ways 1 I perceive thou art a heretic, and I will be even with thee,” 



The priest, as soon as he had landed, rode straight to archbishop 
Warham; and John Brown, within three days after, was sent for by 
the archbishop. The messengers, who were sent to bring him, came 
suddenly into his house; and laying hands upon him they set him 
upon his own horse, and binding his feet under the body of the beast, 
carried him away to Canterbury—neither he nor his wife, nor any of his 
friends, knowing where he was being taken—and there confined him 
for forty days. The archbishop finding Brown, on examination, to be 
opposed* to the church, sent him back to Ashford, with orders that 
he should be burned there the next day. 

The wife of the condemned man, who until this time had remained 
in ignorance of what had happened, being now told of his coming, 
hastened to the prison, and finding him there, fastened in the stocks, 
and sentenced to be burned the next morning, sat by him all night. 

On the next day. Brown was burned, according to his sentence; and 
stood firmly at the stake, uttering prayers until the flames hid him from 

The Trial of John Lambert. 

John Lambert, a teacher of languages in London, was brought 
before the archbishop’s court for having written tracts against the 
Rornish church. He appealed to the king, who, thinking the trial 
of a heretic would afford a good opportunity to display his learning, 
resolved to conduct it in person. Henry therefore sent out a call to 
some of his nobles and bishops to come to London, to assist in the 
trial of the accused man. 

The day being appointed for the hearing, a great number of persons 
of all ranks assembled to witness the proceedings, and Lambert was 
brought from his prison by a guard, and placed directly opposite to 
the king. 

Henry was seated on his throne, and surrounded by the peers, 
bishops, and judges. The king looked on the prisoner with a stern 

countenance, and then commanded Day, bishop of Chichester, to state, 



SO that all present could hear him, why this distinguished assemblage 
of the peers of the realm had been called together. 

The bishop made a long speech, stating that, although the king had 
abolished the pope’s authority in England, it was not to be supposed 
that he would give heretics liberty to disturb and trouble the church 
of which he was the head. He had therefore determined to punish 
all persons who did not worship God according to the established 
forms. With this end in view he had assembled together his bishops 
and counsellors to try the prisoner and to hear his defence. 

The oration being ended, the king ordered Lambert to declare his 
opinion as to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, which he did, by 
denying it to be the actual body of Christ. 

The king then commanded Cranmer to prove the falsity of the 
prisoner’s assertion, which he proceeded to do, but his discourse was 
broken in upon by Gardiner, who loudly interrupted him, and instead 
of argument, sought by vulgar abuse to intimidate Lambert, who was 
not allowed to answer the taunts and insults of the bishop. 

Tonstal and Stokesly next addressed the court, in much the same 
manner, and Lambert, attempting to answer them, was silenced by 
the king. The other bishops then each made a speech in refutation 
of Lambert’s arguments, till all had been answered, or rather railed 
against; for the prisoner was not permitted to say a word in his own 
defence, no matter how much he heard himself being misrepresented. 

At last, when the evening was come and torches began to be lighted, 
the king desiring to put an end to the dispute, said to Lambert, “ What 
sayest thou now, after all these great labors which we have taken for 
thee, and all the reasons and instructions of these learned men ? Art 
thou not yet satisfied ? Wilt thou live or die ? What sayest thou ? 
Thou hast yet free choice.” Lambert answered, '' I yield myself 
wholly unto the will of your majesty.” “ Thou hadst better,” said the 
king, “ commit thyself unto the hands of God, and not unto mine.” 

Lambert replied, I commend my soul unto the hands of God, but 





my body I wholly yield and submit unto your clemency/’ To this 
the king answered, “ If you do commit yourself unto my judgment, 
you must die, for I will not be a patron unto hereticsand turning 
to Cromwell, he said, “ Read the sentence of condemnation against 
him,” which Cromwell accordingly did. 

Upon the day appointed for Lambert to suffer, he was brought out 
of the prison at eight o’clock . in the morning to the house of Crom¬ 
well, and carried into the inner chamber, where, it is said, Cromwell 
asked his forgiveness for what he had done. Lambert being at last 
warned that the hour of his death was at hand, and being brought out 
of the chamber into the hall, saluted the gentlemen present, and sat 
down to breakfast with them, showing neither sadness nor fear. When 
breakfast was ended, he was carried straight to the place of execution 
at Smithfield. 

It is related that the manner of his death was dreadful; for after 
his legs were consumed, and but a little fire was left under him, two 
of the guards pierced him with their halberts, and lifted him up as far 
as the chain would reach; while he, raising his half-consumed hands, 
cried out to the people these words : “ None but Christ! none but 
Christ!” and so being let down again from their halberts, fell into 
the fire, and there ended his life. 

Destruction of the Monasteries. 

Henry having determined to put down the religious house^ 
appointed inspectors to go to all the smaller monasteries in the king¬ 
dom. They were to examine into the amounts of their incomes and 
expenses, to make lists of their goods and property, and to take their 
seals, or charters, into their keeping. They were also to report how 
many of the inmates would return to their homes, and these were to be 
sent to the archbishop of Canterbury, or the lord chancellor, and an 
allowance was to be given them for their journey; but those who 
intended to continue in a religious life were to be removed to some 



of the greater monasteries. A pension was also to be given to the 
houseless abbots or priors Huring their lives; and the inspectors were 
particularly charged to examine what leases of lands had been made 
during the last year. 

By the destruction of the smaller monasteries fully ten thousand 
of their inmates were driven out into the world to earn their subsist¬ 
ence as best they might. They were provided with only forty shil¬ 
lings and a gown a man. Their property in furniture, silver plate, 
and goods of whatever kind was reported by the king’s examiners 
to be worth one hundred thousand pounds in English money—about 
$500,000. The value of the rental of their lands was put down at 
thirty-two thousand pounds, or about $160,000. These amounts were 
far short of the real value of the property confiscated. 

This arbitrary act gave great offence to the people, and the monks 
were now as much pitied as they had formerly been disliked. The 
nobility and gentry, who frequently provided for their younger children 
or friends by putting them in the religious houses, felt their loss. The 
people, who, as they travelled over the country, had found the monas¬ 
teries to be places of reception to strangers, greatly missed them. 

But to remove this discontent, Cromwell advised the king to sell 
these lands at very easy rates to the nobility and gentry, and to 
oblige the new owners to keep up the old-time hospitality. This would 
be a relief to the people, and would compel the nobles to assist the 
crown in the maintenance of the changes that had been made, since 
their own interest would be interwoven with those of their sovereign. 
Furthermore, in accordance with a clause in the act which empowered 
the king to found anew such houses as he should think fit, there were 
fifteen monasteries and sixteen nunneries newly built. These were 
bound to obey such rules as the king should send them, and to pay 
him tenths and first-fruits. But all this did not pacify the people, for 
there was still a great outcry. The clergy did much to inflame the 
nation, and said that an heretical prince, deposed by the pope, was no 



more to be obeyed than a common man; and that it was in the pope’s 
power to depose kings, and give away their dominions. 

There were some rules prepared and sent out by Cromwell which 
increased this discontent. All the clergy were required, every Sunday 
for a quarter of a year, and twice every quarter after that, to preach 
against the pope’s power. They were forbidden to extol images, 
relics, or pilgrimages; but to exhort to works of charity. They 
were also required to teach the Lord’s prayer, the creed, and the 
ten commandments in English; to explain these carefully, and to 
instruct the children well in them. They were to perform the divine 
service reverently, to study the Scriptures, and be moral and exem¬ 
plary in their lives. They were to give part of their income to the 
poor, and for every hundred pounds a year received they were to 
maintain a scholar at some grammar-school, or the university; and if 
the parsonage-house was in decay, they were ordered to apply a fifth 
part of their salary for repairing it. V 

The People Revolt in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. 

The people continued quiet till they had got in their harvest; but 
after that 20,000 men rose in Lincolnshire, led by a priest in the dis¬ 
guise of a cobbler. They took an oath to be true to God, the king, 
and the commonwealth, and sent a statement of their grievances to 
the king. They complained of some acts of parliament, of the sup¬ 
pression of the religious houses, of mean and ill-advised counsellors, 
and bad bishops. They prayed the king to redress their grievances 
and restore their rights. Henry sent the duke of Suffolk to raise forces 
against them, and gave an answer to their petition, in which he treated 
them with his usual haughtiness, saying, ‘‘ It belonged not to the rab¬ 
ble to direct princes what counsellors they should choose.” As for 
the religious houses, the king said that ‘‘ They had been suppressed 
by law, and the heads of them confessed scandals that were a reproach 
to the country; and as they wasted their rents in riotous living, it was 



much better to apply them to the common good of the nation.” Me 
then commanded the insurgents to submit to liis mercy, and to deliver 
up two hundred of their leaders into the hands of his officers. 

At the same time there was a more formidable revolt in Yorkshire, 
which being not far from Scotland, there was danger the rebels would 
draw assistance from that kingdom ; this inclined Henry to make more 
haste to settle matters in Lincolnshire. He sent the enemy secret 
promises granting their requests, which prevailed with the greater num¬ 
ber, so that they went quickly back to their homes, while the most ob¬ 
stinate went over to those in Yorkshire. The leader and some others were 
taken and executed. The remoteness of those in the north of Eng¬ 
land gave them time to rise, and form themselves into military order. 
Their leader, Aske, commanded in person and performed his part with 
great ability. Their march was called ^The pilgrimage of grace.” They 
took an oath that they would restore the church, suppress heretics, 
preserve the king and his issue, and drive base-born men and ill 
counsellors from him. They became 40,000 strong in a few days, 
and forced the archbishop of York and the lord Darcy to swear to 
aid their cause, and to go along with them. They besieged Skipton, 
but the earl of Cumberland defended it against them : Sir Ralph 
Evers held out Scarborough castle, though for twenty days he and 
his men had no provisions but bread and water. 

There was also a rising in all the other northern counties; against 
this the earl of Shrewsbury led a strong force. The king sent several 
of the nobility to his assistance, and within a few days the duke of 
Norfolk marched with some troops, and joined him. They possessed 
themselves of Doncaster, and resolved to keep that place till the rest 
of the king’s forces should join them; for they were not in a condi¬ 
tion to engage with such numbers of desperate men; and it was very 
likely that if they were beaten, the people who had not yet taken part 
with the rebels might have been emboldened by their success to do so. 
The duke of Norfolk resolved, therefore, to keep quiet at Doncaster, 


and wait until the provisions and courage of his adversaries were ex¬ 
hausted. They were now reduced to 10,000, but the king’s army was 
not above 5000. The duke of Norfolk proposed a treaty; the rebels 
were persuaded to send their petitions to the court, and the king sent 
them a general pardon, excepting six persons by name, and reserving 
four to be afterward named; but this last demand, instead of satisfy¬ 
ing them, made them more desperate. 

The people then, in their turn, made demands, which were, that a 
general pardon should be granted to them; that a parliament should 
be held at York, and that courts of justice should be set up there; 
that the princess Mary might be restored to her right of succession, 
and the pope to his power; that the monasteries might be again set 
up; that Audley and Cromwell might be removed from the kingdom, 
and that some of the inspectors of convents might be imprisoned for 
their bribery and extortion. 

These demands being rejected, the rebels resolved to attack the 
royal troops, and drive them from Doncaster; but heavy rains made 
the river too deep to cross. The king, at length, sent a long answer 
to their demands; he assured them that he would live and die in the 
defence of the Christian faith; but the rabble ought not to dictate to 
him and to the convocation in that matter.” He answered their com¬ 
plaint about the monasteries as he had done the men of Lincolnshire. 
Also, he said if they had any charges to bring against his officers he was 
ready to hear them ; but he would not suffer them to direct him what 
counsellors he ought to employ; nor could they judge of the bishops 
who had been promoted, they not being known to them. He charged 
them not to believe lies, nor to be led away, by traitors, but to submit 
to his mercy. Finally he signed a pardon for them all, without any 
restrictions. As soon as the rebellion was quelled, the king went on 
more resolutely in his design of suppressing the monasteries; for his 
success in putting down so dangerous a revolt made him fearless 
of any new opposition that might arise. 



The Larger Monasteries Put Down. 

A new set of inspectors were appointed, and many monasteries 
which had not before been interfered with were now destroyed, and 
many of the greater abbots were induced to surrender. Some had 
been engaged in the late rebellion, and so, to avoid punishment, 
offered a resignation. Others favored the reformed faith, and did 
it on that account; some were found guilty of irregular lives, and 
to prevent discovery, offered their estates to the king; while others 
had made away with the treasures of their monasteries, and having 
thus provided for themselves, cared little what became of their houses, 
and the other members of the order. 

By these means one hundred and twenty-one houses were in one 
year given up to the king. In some monasteries the inspectors made 
the monks sign a confession, in which a few of them acknowledged 
their idleness, gluttony, etc.; and others admitted that the manner of 
their so-called religious lives consisted in dumb ceremonies, by which 
they were blindly led, having no true knowledge of God’s laws. 
Some resigned in hope that the king would re-establish their houses 
under new rules, and Latimer pressed Cromwell earnestly that two 
or three houses might be reserved for such purposes in every county. 
But it was mercilessly determined to destroy them all. Some of the 
heads of the monasteries were not so fortunate as to escape merely 
with the surrender of their houses. The abbots of Whalley, Jerv^aux, 
Sawley, and Glastonbury, with the priors of Woburn and Burlington, 
having taken part in the late riots, were executed for treason, and 
some of the friars were put to death for denying the king’s suprem¬ 
acy ; others, suspected of favoring them and of receiving books sent 
from beyond the sea, written against the king’s proceedings, were im¬ 
prisoned, and many of them perished in dungeons. 

Great complaints were made of the inspectors appointed by the 
king to visit the monasteries. It was said, that they had in many 
places appropriated treasures to their own use; and had been guilty 


of various crimes under the pretence of discharging their duty. The 
inspectors, on the other hand, published many charges of improper| 
practices which they had found in those houses, so that several books 
were printed upon this subject. Yet all these stories had not much 
weight with the people. They deemed it unreasonable to destroy 
noble and historic buildings for the fault of some few unworthy in¬ 
dividuals ; therefore other charges were made, which had more effect. 

Images and Relics Discovered. 

They exhibited to the world many pretended relics, and wonderful 
images, to which pilgrimages had been made. At Reading there was 
preserved the wing of an angel, who, according to the monks, brought 
over the point of the spear that pierced our Saviour’s side; and so 
great a number of pieces of the true cross were found, that if joined 
together, they would have made six. 

The “ Rood of Grace,” an image at Boxley in Kent, had been much 
revered, and many pilgrims had been drawn to it, on account of its 
possessing the wonderful power of bowing its head, rolling its eyes, 
smiling, and frowning, to the great astonishment and terror of the 
credulous multitude, who supposed they had witnessed a miracle. 
But this was now discovered to be a cunningly made, wooden figure, 
hollow inside and containing clock-work. It was brought up to St. 
Paul’s Cross; where all the hidden springs were shown by which its 
motions could be governed, by a priest who stood behind it. 

At Hale’s, in Gloucestershire, what was blasphemously called the 
blood of Christ was shown in a vial. It was believed that none could 
see it who were in mortal sin. Those who could bestow liberal 
presents, were gratified, by being led to believe that they were in 
a state of grace. This miracle consisted in the blood of an animal, 
which was renewed every week, being put in a bottle, of which the 
glass was very thick on one side and thin on the other. Either 
side was turned towards the pilgrim, as the priests were satisfied 



or not with his gifts. Several other impostures of similar kind 
were discovered. 

On the other hand, mere ruthless destruction and robbery often 
took place; the rich shrine of Thomas a Becket at Canterbury was de¬ 
stroyed, and the immense quantity of gold and precious stones, which 
had been given by the worshippers at the grave, were confiscated and 
carried away. 

The Pope Denounces the King. 

When these radical measures had become known at Rome, the 
pope immediately discharged against Henry all the thunders of his 
spiritual store-house. He freed his subjects from their allegiance, and 
his allies from their treaties with him; and exhorted all Christians to 
make war against the sacrilegious king and to drive him from the 
throne. But the age of crusades was past, and this display of im¬ 
potent malice produced only contempt in the minds of the king and 
his advisers, who steadily proceeded in their work of destruction. 

But, notwithstanding the king’s disagreement with the pope on 
many subjects, there was one point on which they were alike—they 
were both intolerant bigots. While the king was excommunicated as 
a heretic, he was himself equally zealous in rooting out heresy as he 
understood it, and burning all who presumed to depart from the 
standard of faith which he had himself established. 

Fall of Thomas Cromwell. 

In 1540, Cromwell, who had so long been a favorite of the king, 
and had held the highest offices, was suddenly disgraced, and com¬ 
mitted to the Tower. His iron-handed government had earned him 
many enemies. Even the proud nobility had long cowered before 
this man of humble birth. The clergy, also, believed that the sup¬ 
pression of the monasteries and the innovations in religion were due 
to his counsels. The fickle tyrant, Henry, whom he had served, was 
also displeased with him as the adviser of his marriage with Anne of 

38 o 


Cleves, whom he was now tired of and anxious to part from, so that 
he might marry Catherine Howard, niece of the duke of Norfolk. 
He suspected Cromwell likewise of secretly encouraging an opposition 
to the six articles of religion, and hoped, by sacrificing a man who was 
hated by the Romanists, to regain their support and favor. 

Cromwell experienced the common fate of fallen ministers; his 
pretended friends forsook him, and his enemies satisfied their revenge 
against him without opposition. Cranmer, however, with rare fidelity, 
dared to avow an attachment for the doomed man, even at this time, 
and wrote a very earnest letter to the king in his favor. But Henry 
was not easily turned from his purpose, and being resolved on the 
ruin of Cromwell, was not to be persuaded. 

In the house of lords a bill charging him with treason was passed 
with the utmost haste; but in the commons it met with opposition, 
and after a delay of ten days, a new bill was framed, and sent up to 
the lords, in which Cromwell was designated as the most corrupt 
traitor ever known.” 

The king now proceeded with his divorce, and although there was 
no reason to dispute the legality of his marriage with Anne of Cleves, 
still, as she was disagreeable to his royal taste, his courtiers were too 
well trained to offer the least opposition to his wishes. The convo¬ 
cation unanimously dissolved the marriage, and gave Henry liberty to 
marry again; indeed it is probable that if he had desired to have two 
or more wives at once, the measure would have been sanctioned, so 
base and servile were the courtiers and priests by whom this tyrant 
was surrounded. The queen continued to reside in England, and had 
a pension awarded her for her support. 

Cromwell, the once powerful minister, was soon after led out to the 
block and his head struck off with a blow of the executioner’s axe. 

The bishops now published a new '' book of religion,” in which 
they settled the standard of the national faith; and although the 
reformers were justly dissatisfied with many parts of it, yet with other 



portions they saw more reason to be content: as many superstitious 
practices were condemned in it, and the Gospel covenant was rightly 
stated; every national church was also declared to be a complete body 
in itself, with power to reform heresies, and do everything necessary 
for the preservation of its purity and the government of its members. 

The clergy, elated by the condemnation and death of Cromwell, 
persuaded the king to new severities; and three preachers, Barnes, 
Gerrard, and Jerome, were accused of holding heretical opinions and 
put on trial for their lives. 

Martyrdom of Dr. Robert Barnes. 

Dr. Barnes was educated at the university of Louvain, in Belgium. 
On his return to England he went to Cambridge, where he was made 
prior and master of the house of the Augustines. Eager to impart 
knowledge and truth, he began to instruct the students in the ancient 
languages, and with the assistance of Parnel, his scholar, whom he 
had brought from Louvain, soon established a broader system of 
education, and caused the university to bear a very different aspect. 

This being done, Barnes began to read openly the epistles of St. 
Paul, and to teach in greater simplicity the religion of Christ. He 
preached and disputed with great warmth against the luxuries of the 
higher clergy, particularly against cardinal Wolsey, and against the 
hypocrisy and corruption ^of the times in general. After preaching 
thus for some months Barnes was accused of heresy, arrested, and 
brought to London. He was soon taken to the palace of cardinal 
Wolsey, and brought before the great man in his state chamber. 

“ Is this,” said the cardinal, “ that Dr. Barnes who is accused of 
heresy ?” 

“Yes, and please your grace,” replied the cardinaks secretary. 

“ Well, Master Doctor,” said Wolsey, “ could you not find sufficient 
in the Scriptures to teach the people, but that my golden shoes, my 
torch-bearers, my marble stairs, and my velvet cushions, did so sore offend 


you, that you must make us a by-word amongst the people, who that 
day on which you preached did laugh us to scorn ? Verily it was a 
sermon fitter for the stage than the pulpit; for you said, ‘ The cardinal 
wears a pair of red gloves, I should say bloody gloves,’ quoth you, 
‘ that he should not be cold in the midst of his ceremonies.’ ” 

Dr. Barnes answered, “ I spake nothing but the truth, out of the 
Scriptures, according to my conscience, and according to the old 
doctors.” And then he delivered him six sheets of paper written, 
to confirm and prove his words. The cardinal received them smiling, 
saying, “ We perceive, then, that you intend to stand to your articles, 
and to show your learning.” 

“Yea,” said Barnes, “ that I do by God’s grace, with your lord¬ 
ship’s favor.” 

Wolsey answered, “ Such as you bear us and the church little 
favor. I will ask you a question : Do you not think it necessary 
that I should have all this royalty, to represent the king’s majesty in 
all the high courts of this realm, and to the terror and keeping down 
of wicked treasons and traitors ? Would you have us to sell all these 
things or give them to the poor, who would shortly cast them in the 
dirt; and to put away this princely dignity, which is a terror to the 
wicked, and to follow your counsel ?” 

“ I do think it proper,” said Barnes, “ to have these things sold and 
given to the poor. For this is not becoming your calling; nor is the 
king’s majesty maintained by your pomp and royalty, but by God’s 
grace, who saith. Kings and their majesty reign and stand by Me.” 

Barnes was then committed to the custody of the sergeant-at-arms 
who had brought him to London, and by whom he was the next 
morning brought before the bishops ; who, on examining the articles 
of his faith, which he had delivered to the cardinal, asked him if he 
would sign them, which he did, and was thereupon committed to 
the Fleet prison. 

On the Saturday following, he was again brought before the 



bishops, who called upon him to know whether he would recant 
or burn. He was at first inclined rather to burn than recant, but 
w'as persuaded to submit to save his life, and the paper being made 
ready, he at length signed it with his own hand; yet his judges would 
scarcely receive him back into the church. Then they put him to an 
oath, and charged him to do all that they commanded him, which he 
accordingly promised. 

He was then again committed to the Fleet, and the next morning 
was brought to St. Paul’s church, with five others who had recanted. 
Here the cardinals, bishops, and clergy being assembled in great pomp, 
the bishop of Rochester preached a sermon against the doctrines of 
Luther, during which Barnes was commanded to kneel down and ask 
forgiveness of God, after which he was ordered, at the end of the ser¬ 
mon, to declare that he was treated more mercifully than he deserved, 
his heresies being so horrible and so detestable; then he kneeled down 
again and asked the people to forgive and to pray for him. This be¬ 
ing ended, the cardinal departed under a canopy, with the bishops and 
mitred abbots, who accompanied him to the outer gate of the church, 
after which they returned. Then Barnes, and the others who had ab¬ 
jured, were carried thrice about a fire, after which they were brought 
to the bishops, and kneeled down for absolution. The bishop of 
Rochester standing up, declared that Dr. Barnes, with the others, 
were received into the church again. After this they were sent 
back to the Fleet to await the cardinal’s pleasure. 

Dr. Barnes having remained in the Fleet six months, was placed 
in the custody of the Austin Friars in London; from whence he was 
removed by the Austin Friars of Northampton, there to be burned; 
of which intention, however, he was perfectly ignorant. Being in¬ 
formed of the cruel designs of his enemies, he made his escape, and 
reached Antwerp, where he dwelt in safety, and was honored with the 
friendship of some of the best and most eminent men of the time, such 
as Luther, Melancthon, the duke of Saxony, and others. Indeed, so 


great was his reputation, that the king of Denmark sent him as one 
of his ambassadors to England. Sir Thomas More, at that time lord 
chancellor, tried then to have him arrested on the former charge. 
The king, however, would not allow this, as it would have been a 
breach of the law of nations to offer violence to an ambassador. 
Barnes, therefore, remained in England unharmed, and departed again 
without restraint. He returned to Wittemberg, where he remained to 
publish his books, in print, that he had written, after which he returned 
again to England, and continued a faithful preacher in London, being 
well treated during the time of Anne Boleyn. He was afterward sent 
ambassador by Henry to the duke of Cleves, upon the business of 
the marriage between Anne of Cleves and the king; and gave great 
satisfaction in every office which was entrusted to him. 

Not long after the arrival of Gardiner from France, Dr. Barnes 
and other reformed preachers were arrested and carried before the 
king at Hampton Court, where Barnes was examined. The king 
being desirous to bring about an agreement between him and Gardi¬ 
ner, granted Barnes leave to go home with the bishop, so that they 
might discuss the matter and settle their differences. But as they 
could not agree, Gardiner and his party sought to entangle and en¬ 
trap Barnes and his friends in further disobedience, which not long 
after they succeeded in doing. For, the three—Barnes, Gerrard, and 
Jerome—were soon sent for to Hampton Court, whence they were 
taken to the Tower of London, there to remain till they were brought 
out to death. 

The history of Barnes' two fellow-prisoners, Gerrard and Jerome, 
is as follows: 

Thomas Gerrard. 

Thomas Gerrard was a curate of London. Going to Oxford, he 
brought with him some books in Latin, treating of the Scriptures, 
with Tyndale’s first translation of the New Testament in English; 
these books he sold to several students at Oxford university, 



After Gerrard had been at Oxford for a time, and had sold all his 
books, news came from London that he was being looked for in 
that city, as a heretic, and charged with selling heretical publications. 
For it had become known to cardinal Wolsey, the bishop of London, 
and others, that Gerrard had a great number of those books, and 
that he had gone to Oxford intending to sell them. Therefore 
they determined to make a search through Oxford, to apprehend 
and imprison him, and to burn all his books, and him too if they 
could. But one of the officers of the university gave Gerrard secret 
warning of his danger and advised him to escape quickly and secretly 
from Oxford. 

Gerrard was soon appointed, through the interest of a friend, to a 
church in Dorsetshire, and he set out for that county, but being way¬ 
laid by his enemies, was unable to continue his journey, and therefore 
returned to Oxford, where he was on the same night arrested as he 
lay in his bed, and shut up in prison till further directions were re¬ 
ceived respecting him. He escaped in disguise, but was retaken, and 
convicted as a heretic. 

William Jerome. 

William Jerome was vicar of Stepney. He was an earnest preacher 
of the Gospel, and opposed to the perversions and traditions of man. 
At last one of his sermons so offended the authorities that he was 
summoned before the king at Westminster, and there accused of 
heresy. In spite of his arguments, he was committed to the Tower 
of London, in company with Barnes and Gerrard. 

Burning of Barnes, Gerrard, and Jerome. 

Having remained in the Tower about three months the prisoners 
were brought out to die at Smithfield. As they stood before the peo¬ 
ple they appeared calm and composed. Before being committed to the 
flames they addressed the crowd as follows: Dr. Barnes being the 

first to speak. He said: 




I am come hither to be burned as a heretic, and you shall hear 
my belief; whereby you shall perceive what opinions I hold. I take 
God to witness I never, to my knowledge, taught any erroneous doc¬ 
trine, but only those things which Scripture led me to; and that in 
my sermons I never upheld any error, nor moved nor encouraged 
any disobedience to the king.” 

After stating the articles of his belief, Barnes said to the sheriff, 
“Have you any charges against me for which I am condemned?” 
The sheriff answered, “No.” “Then,” said he, “is there here any 
man else that knows why I must die, or that by my preaching has 
been led into error? Let them now speak, and I will give them an 
answer.” But no man answered. Then said he, “ Well, I am con¬ 
demned by the law to die, and as I understand by an act of parliament: 
but wherefore I cannot tell, but probably for heresy, for we are likely 
to burn. But they who have been the occasion of it, I pray God to 
forgive them, as I would be forgiven myself And Stephen, bishop 
of Winchester, that now is, if he has brought about this my death 
either by word or deed, I pray God to forgive him, as heartily, as 
freely, as ever Christ forgave them that put him to death. And if any 
of the council, or any other, have brought it about through malice or 
ignorance, I pray God to forgive their ignorance and illuminate their 
eyes, that they may see and ask mercy for it. I beseech you all to 
pray for the king as I have done ever since I was in prison, and do 
now, that God may give him prosperity, and that he may reign long 
among* you; and after him, that godly prince Edward may so reign, 
that he may finish those things that his father has begun. I have been 
reported to be a preacher of sedition, and disobedient to the king’s 
majesty; but here I say to you, that you are all bound by the com¬ 
mandment of God to obey your prince with all humility and with all 
your heart; yea, not so much as in a look to show yourselves dis¬ 
obedient to him, and not only to do this for fear of the sword, but 
also for conscience sake before God.” 



Then said Barnes to the sheriff, “ Mr. Sheriff, I require you on 
God’s behalf to have me commended unto the king, and to tell him 
that I require of his grace these five requests. First, that where his 
grace hath received into his hands all the goods and substance of the 

Here the sheriff cried out “ Silence!” 

Barnes answered, Mr. Sheriff, I warrant you I will speak no 
harm. I would only say that I hope it may please his grace to bestow 
the said goods, or some of them, to the comfort of his poor subjects; 
they surely have great need of them. The second that I desire his 
grace is, that he will see that the marriage law be held in more rev¬ 
erence than it is; and that men do not, for trifling causes, cast off 
their wives. The third, that profane swearers may be punished; for 
the vengeance of God will come on them for their oaths. The fourth, 
that his majesty would establish Christ’s true religion; and seeing he 
has begun, go forward and make an end; for many things have been 
done, but much more is to do; and also, that it would please his 
grace to read God’s word himself, for it has been heretofore less 
held in honor than many traditions invented by man.” 

“Now,” said Barnes, “how many petitions have I made?” The 
people answered, “Four.” “Well,” said he, “even these four are 
sufficient, which I desire you that the king’s grace may be told of, 
and say, that I most humbly desire him to look earnestly upon them; 
and that his grace take heed that he be not deceived with false preach¬ 
ers and teachers and evil counsel, for Christ saith, that such false 
prophets shall come in sheep’s clothing.” Lastly Barnes begged all 
men to forgive him, if he had said any evil at any time, or given any per¬ 
son cause to be offended. He asked all to bear witness that he died 
in the faith of Jesus Christ, by whom he doubted not but to be saved, 
^and he desired them all to pray for him. Then he turned him about, 
and put off his clothes, making ready for the fire, there patiently to 
take his death. 



Jerome and Gerrard, professed in like manner their belief, so that 
the people might understand there was no error in their faith; pro¬ 
testing that they denied nothing that was either in the Old, or New 
Testament, which was approved by their sovereign lord the king, 
whom they hoped might long continue among them, with his most 
dear son, prince Edward. 

After the three poor prisoners had prayed the Lord to support 
them through this their affliction, they took each other by the hands; 
then quietly gave themselves up to the tormentors, who fastened them 
with iron chains to the stake, and lighting the fagots soon ended their 
mortal lives and cares. 

The Sermons That were Preached. 

At this time the sermons of the Romish priests ordinarily gave but 
little of the simple teaching of Christianity. They discoursed rather 
upon the saints, the virtues of their sacred relics, and told so much 
that was merely legend or tradition that the more intelligent among 
their hearers came to disbelieve all they said. The preachers of the 
reformed faith, on the other hand, took pains to instruct the people in 
the principles of religion,—a subject upon which many of them had 
remained, up to this time, in total ignorance. This caused their 
sermons to be listened to with eager interest. But it must be said that, 
there were some among these preachers whose hatred of Rome led 
them to introduce in their discourses much bitterness and railing 
against the priesthood, which was not consistent with the mild precepts 
of Christianity. This caused an order to be made that none should 
preach without a license. There was also printed a book of homilies 
containing parts of Scripture, together with some practical exhorta¬ 
tions founded on them, for the use of itinerant preachers. It is said 
that unjust complaints were sometimes made against licensed preachers 
by their opponents, who falsely charged them with uttering words 
they had never spoken. For their own protection the preachers began 


to write, and read aloud their sermons. This was the beginning of 
a custom afterward almost universal. 

Story of Robert Testwood. 

Robert Testwood, a skilled musician, of London, was a member of 
the choir of the college of Windsor. Owing to his upholding Luther’s 
doctrines he was much disliked by some of the chief men of the 
college. Testwood happened one day to be at dinner with Dr. 
Rawson, one of the professors, and a clergyman named Ely. The 
clergyman began to rail against laymen knowing only the English 
tongue, who pretended to understand the Scriptures and to be better 
learned, than scholars who had been brought up in the universities of 
Oxford and Cambridge. Testwood, taking the hint, said, “ Mr. Ely, 
by your permission, I think it be no harm for laymen, such as I am, to 
read and to know the Scriptures.” 

“ How can you,” cried Ely, that be unlearned, know them, or 
understand them ? Now answer me this: St. Paul saith, ‘ If thine 
enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; and in so 
doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.’ Now, sir,” con¬ 
tinued Ely, “ what meaneth St. Paul by those coals of fire ?” Indeed, 
sir,” replied Testwood, “ he meaneth nothing else by them (as I have 
learned) but burning charity, that by doing good to our enemies we 
should thereby win them.” “ Ah, sirrah,” said Ely, much taken aback, 
“you are a famous scholar indeed!” 

After this they talked about the pope—as the papal supremacy was 
much discussed at that time—and Ely demanded of Testwood, whether 
the pope ought to be the head of their church or no ? Testwood, 
after some argument, refused to acknowledge the pope, and said, 
“ Every king in his own realm and dominion, ought to be the head 
of the church under Christ.” At which words Ely rose from the 
table in a great passion, calling him a heretic; and so left the room. 

Testwood was very sorry to see Ely so angry; and after dinner he 



went out and found him walking in the churchyard. Testwood wished 
to talk the matter over with him, but Ely would not come near, but 
pointed out Testwood to others who passed by, saying, “ Beware of 
this fellow, for he is the greatest heretic and schismatic that ever came 
into Windsor/’ 

Ely intended, at the dean’s coming home, to have accused Test- 
wood ; but a few days after, the act confirming the king’s supremacy 
passed in the parliament. The dean. Dr. Sampson, returned and gave 
orders for all the professors of the college to assemble before him. 
Then Ely consulted with the others, and they agreed to accuse Test- 
wood. “ But he that layeth a snare for another man,” says the proverb, 
‘‘ shall be taken in it himself.” And so it happened in this instance. 
For when all were assembled in the chapter-house, the dean began 
contrary to every man’s expectation, to talk against the pope of 
Rome’s supremacy and usurped authority, proving the same con¬ 
trary to Scripture and reason; and at length declared openly, that, 
by consent of the parliament, the pope’s supremacy was utterly 
abolished out of England for ever; and so commanded every man 
there, to call him pope no more, but bishop of Rome, and whoever 
would not do so, or did henceforward maintain or favor his cause in 
any manner, should not only lose the benefit of that house, but be 
reputed as an utter enemy of God and the king. The professors 
and teachers hearing this, were all thunderstruck. Yet, in spite of 
that, Ely was so hot against Testwood, that he began to tell his tale; 
but the dean, interrupting him, called him a fool, and required him to 
hold his peace. The dean then caused all the pope’s pardons which 
hung about the church to be brought into the chapter-house and 

After this, as Testwood was one day walking in the church, he 
saw some pilgrims making their offerings to certain images and statues 
of saints ; upon which he reproved them for their idolatry, and ex¬ 
horted them to worship God alone. To show them the utter help- 


lessness of those images of wood and stone, he struck off the nose 
of one of them, and showing it to the credulous worshippers, said, 
“ Lo, good people you see what it is, nothing but earth and dust; 
it cannot help itself; and how then can you believe it will help you ? 
For God’s sake, brethren, be no more deceived.” 

This action gave great offence to the priests, and not less to the 
image-dealers, who foresaw the ruin of their trade, if such ideas got 
about. They even threatened Testwood’s life, who thereupon refused 
to leave his house, but wrote an account of the whole matter to 
Thomas Cromwell, then high in favor with the king. The professors 
fearing Cromwell, ceased to molest Testwood who went about his 
duties as before. He was still, however, looked upon as a heretic, 
and his evident love for the doctrines of the reformers, kept alive 
the anger of his enemies, and in the end brought about his mar¬ 
tyrdom, as will be told further on. 

About this time certain friends of Testwood drew down upon them¬ 
selves the same suspicions, and in the end suffered the same punish¬ 
ment as was dealt out to him. 

Persecution of Anthony Pearson and Other Friends of 


Anthony Pearson, who about this time began to preach at Windsor, 
was much liked by the lovers of the Gospel, who went in great num¬ 
bers to hear him. This gave offence to the priests and their followers; 
and Dr. London, a priest of Windsor, with Simons, a lawyer, who had 
before accused Testwood for defacing the image, made great efforts to 
establish a charge of heresy against Pearson and his friends. With 
this view they made notes of some of his sermons against the mass, 
and other forms of service practiced by the church of Rome. They 
then fixed on several persons to be accused as the principal upholders 
of what they called his heretical doctrines, among whom were Sir 
W. Hobby, Sir T. Cardine, and Dr. Haynes, dean of Exeter. They 



aiso employed spies to report the names of those persons who did 
not come to confession. Having collected all these particulars, Dr. 
London sent the account to Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, with a 
complaint of '' the great disquietude, brought upon the members of 
the church, by the evil doctrines and examples of these pernicious 
heretics,” and a request that his lordship would ‘‘assist them in 
purging the town of such wicked persons.” 

The bishop accordingly told the king that the heretics had spread 
throughout the realm, and were to be found even in his own chapel; 
he therefore begged his majesty that he might have leave to enforce 
the laws against them; to which the king consented. The bishop 
immediately got a warrant for searching the houses of those who 
had been accused by Dr. London, in order to find proofs of heresy. 
They succeeded in finding certain books and writings against the 
forms of the church of Rome and the six articles, in the houses 
of four persons, viz., Testwood, Benet, Marbeck, and Filmer. All 
these men (except Testwood, who was confined to his room by ill¬ 
ness), were therefore at once arrested, sent to London, examined be¬ 
fore the council, and committed to prison. 

Marbeck was a man of remarkable intelligence and industry. He 
had begun a Concordance of the Bible in English, which was seized 
with his other papers, and laid before the council. This caused a 
great commotion. Tho bishop of Winchester asked Marbeck if he 
understood Latin, and would scarcely believe that he did not; for 
both he and the other lords of the council thought his Concordance 
was a mere translation from the Latin. They said that “ if such a 
book should go forth in English, it would take away the credit from 
those scholars who knew the Latin tongue.” 

Drawing some sheets out from the writing, the bishop of Salis¬ 
bury laid them before the bishop of Hereford, who after examining 
them for awhile, admitted that Marbeck had been better employed 
than many of his own priests. 



Then the bishop of Salisbury asked, “ Who helped you in preparing 
this book?” “Truly, my lord,” replied Marbeck, “ I had no help at 
all.” “How could you,” said the bishop, “invent such a book, or 
know what a Concordance meant, without an instructor ?” “ I will 

tell you, my lord,” said the prisoner, “ how it was that I came to begin 
it. When Thomas Matthew’s Bible came out in print, I much wanted 
one of them; but being a poor man, not able to buy it, I determined 
to borrow it from one of my friends, and to write a copy of it. And 
when I had written out the five books of Moses on fair white paper, 
and had begun the book of Joshua, my friend Mr. Turner chanced to 
steal upon me unawares, and seeing me writing out the Bible, asked 
me what I meant thereby. And when I had told him the cause, 
'Tush/ quoth he, 'thou goest about a vain and tedious labor. But 
I can propose a profitable work for thee, to set out a Concordance in 
English.’ ' A Concordance,’ said I, ‘ what is that ?’ Then he told me 
it was a book to find out any word in the Bible by the letter, and that 
there was such an one in Latin already. Then I told him I had no 
learning to go about such a thing. ' Enough,’ quoth he, ' for that 
matter, for it requireth not so much learning as diligence. And seeing 
thou art so industrious a man, and one that cannot be unoccupied, it 
were a good exercise for thee.’ So as it seemed to me a good thing 
to be done, I set to work; and this, my lord, is all the instruction 
that ever I had, before or after, of any man.” 

''And who is this Turner?” asked the bishop of Salisbury. 
'' Marry,” said Dr. May, '' an honest and learned man, and a bachelor 
of divinity, and at one time a fellow in Magdalene College, in Oxford.” 
'' How could you,” said the bishop of Salisbury, '' with this instruction, 
bring it to this order and form, as it is ?” '' I borrowed a Latin Con¬ 

cordance,” replied Marbeck, '' and began to practise, and at last, with 
great labor and diligence, brought it into this order, as your lordship 
doth see.” '' It is a great pity,” said the bishop of Ely, “ he had not 
the Latin tongue.” “Yet I cannot believe,” said the bishop of Salis' 



bury, '' that he has done any more in this work than copied it out after 
some other man that is more learned.” 

“ My lords,” said Marbeck, ‘‘ I marvel greatly why I should be so 
much examined for this book, and cannot tell whether I have com¬ 
mitted any offence in writing it or no. If I have, then were I loth for 
any other to be molested or punished for my fault. Therefore, to clear 
all men in this matter, this is my request, that you will try me on the 
rest of the book that is undone. You see that I am yet but at the 
letter L, beginning now at M, therefore take out what word ye will of 
that letter, and so of every letter following, and give me the words on 
a piece of paper, and set me in a place alone where it shall please you, 
with ink and paper, the English Bible, and the Latin Concordance; 
and if I bring you not these words written in the same order and 
form, that the rest is, then it was not I that did it, but some other.” 

By my truth, Marbeck,” cried the bishop of Ely, '' that is honestly 
spoken, and will bring many out of suspicion.” 

Marbeck being sent back to his prison chamber, fell to work, and 
so applied himself that by the next day, when the bishop sent for him 
again, he had filled three sheets of paper and more, which he handed 
to the bishop, who, after looking at them, said, '' Well, Marbeck, you 
have indeed removed all doubt, and I assure you,” putting up the 
paper into his bosom, '' the king shall see this ere I be twenty-four 
hours older.” But he did not keep his word, and never showed it to 
the king; neither was Marbeck released, but being given into the 
charge of his keeper was led back to prison again. 

Trial of Pearson, Testwood, and their Companions. 

After a time, Anthony Pearson, Henry Filmer, and John Marbeck, 
were sent to Windsor, and locked up in the town jail; and Testwood, 
who had been forced to keep to his bed, was brought out of his house 
upon crutches, and confined with them. There was a session of court 
specially held to try them. By the advice of Dr. London, and Simons, 



the lawyer, all the formers belonging to Windsor, were notified to 
appear, because they could not pick out Romanists enough in the 
town to serve upon the jury. 

When the judges had taken their places, and the prisoners were 
brought into court, the usual charges of heresy were preferred 
against them by the king’s attorney. After all had been heard and 
the arguments on both sides ended, the jury went out. After they had 
been together about a quarter of an hour, Simons went to confer with 
them. After that, one of the jurymen came out to the bishop, and 
talked with him and the other commissioners a good while; whereby 
many thought that the jury could not agree. But soon after they 
appeared and delivered their verdict: which was, that the prisoners 
were all guilty. 

The commissioners now could not decide who should pronounce 
judgment. All the others declining, Fachel said, “If it must be done, 
one of us must do it, and if no other man will, then will 1 .'’ And so 
he, the lowest in degree of all the commissioners, gave judgment. 

Marbeck, being the last upon whom sentence was passed, cried out 
to the bishop, “ Ah, my lord, you told me otherwise when I was before 
you and the other two bishops. You said that I was in a better case 
than any of my fellows; and is your saying come to this ? Ah, 
my lord, you have deceived me 

The prisoners being condemned and led away, prepared themselves 
to die on the morrow, comforting one another in the death and passion 
of their blessed Saviour, trusting that the same Lord, who had thought 
them worthy to suffer so far for his sake, would not now withdraw his 
strength from them, but would surely give them faith and power to 
overcome the fiery torments to which they were to be exposed. 

On the morrow, which was Friday, as the prisoners were all pre¬ 
paring themselves to go to the stake, word was brought them that they 
should not die that day. The cause was this: the bishop of Sarum 
had sent a letter to the bishop of Winchester in favor of Marbeck; 



upon receiving which the bishop went to the king, and obtained his 
pardon. So Marbeck was released, at which many rejoiced. 

Burning of Pearson, Testwood, and Firmer. 

On the next day, which was Saturday, the three remaining pris¬ 
oners were to be led out to die. Dr. Blithe and Mr. Arch, two 
of the officers of the college, came to them; and Arch asked the 
prisoners, “ If they would be confessed ?” to which they said yea. 
Then he demanded, “ If they would receive the communion ?” Yea,” 
said they again, “with all our hearts.” “I am glad,” said Arch, “to 
hear you say so; but the law is, that it may not be administered to 
any that are convicted of heresy. However, it is well for you that 
ye desire it.” 

The three prisoners were then taken to the hall to confess, because 
the prison was full of people. Dr. Blithe took Anthony Pearson to 
him to confess, and Arch took the other two. But Pearson would 
not stay long with the doctor, but came down again, saying, “ He 
wanted no more of his doctrine.” And soon after the other two 
came down also. 

Moving apart from the people in the prison, Pearson began to say 
the Lord’s prayer, which he continued till the officers came to fetch 
him and his fellow-prisoners away; then taking their leave of Marbeck, 
they praised God for his deliverance, wishing to him an increase of 
godliness and virtue, beseeching him heartily to help them with his 
prayers to God, to make them strong in their afflictions; and so 
they parted. 

As the prisoners passed through the street, they asked all the peo¬ 
ple to pray for them, and to stand fast in the truth of the Gospel, and 
not to be moved by their seeming afflictions, for it was the happiest 
event that ever happened to them. When Filmer came to his 
brother’s door, he wished to say farewell to him, but Dr. London 
kept him out of sight; so when he had called for his brother three 



or four times, and found he came not, he said, And will he not 
come ? Then God forgive him.” Being at length arrived at the 
place of execution, Anthony Pearson, with a cheerful countenance, 
embraced the post in his arms, and kissing it, said, “ Now welcome 
mine own sweet wife ; for this day shalt thou and I be married to¬ 
gether in the love and peace of God.” 

Being all three bound to the post, a young man, a friend of Filmer, 
brought him drink, saying, “Wilt thou drink?” “Yea,” cried Filmer, 
“ I thank you ; and now my brother,” continued he, “ I desire you, in 
the name of the living Lord, to stand fast in the truth of the Gospel 
of Jesus Christ, which you have received;” and so taking the vessel 
in his hand, he asked Pearson if he would drink also. “Yea, brother 
Filmer,” replied he, “I pledge you in the Lord.” 

Then all three drank; and Filmer, encouraging the others, said, 
“ Be merry, my brethren, and lift up your hearts to God, for after 
this sharp breakfast, I trust we shall have a happy meeting in the 
kingdom of Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.” 

At these words, Testwood, lifting up his hands and eyes to heaven, 
prayed the Lord above to receive his spirit. And Anthony Pearson, 
pulling the wood toward him, said, “ Now am I armed like a true sol¬ 
dier of Christ, by whose merits only I trust this day to enter into joy.” 
And so they yielded up their souls to the Father in heaven, with such 
humility and steadfastness, that many who saw their patient suffering, 
confessed that they could have found it in their own hearts to have 
died with them. 

Account of Adam Damlip. 

Adam Damlip was educated as a priest of the church of Rome. 
He served as chaplain to Fisher, bishop of Rochester, and after the 
death of the bishop, Damlip left England and traveled through France, 
Holland, and Italy. 

Coming at last to Rome, where he expected to find godliness and 
virtue, Damlip found instead, such looseness of life and contempt of 



the religion of Christ—even among the priests of the church—that 
he refused longer to remain at Rome; although urged to do so by 
cardinal Pole, who wished him to give three lectures each week in 
his house, for which he offered him a considerable sum of money. 

Returning to England, Damlip began to preach in the west country 
against the practices of the church of Rome. He was soon arrested, 
and brought to London, sentenced by Gardiner to the Marshalsea 
prison, and confined there for two years. During his imprisonment 
he grew to be esteemed by every person in the prison; but especially 
by the keeper himself, whose name was Massy. Being allowed to 
go at liberty within the walls, Damlip did much good among the 
common and dissolute sort of prisoners, in rebuking vice and sin, and 
he kept the usually turbulent company in such good order, that the 
keeper found him a great help. 

One day Damlip wrote out a petition for his release, in which he 
stated also his religious belief, and gave it to the keeper, desiring him 
to take it to the bishop of Winchester. The keeper said he would do 
so, and went the next day to the bishop, returning at night very late. 
When he came in, the prisoners saw that he was sad and much cast 
down, so they knew something was amiss. At last, casting his eyes 
upon Damlip, the keeper said, “ O Adam, I can tell thee tidings.’' 
'‘What is it, master?” said Damlip. “Upon Monday next, thou 
and I must go to Calais.” “ To Calais, what to do?” “ I know not,” 
replied the keeper, “ but this was given to me,” and then he pulled 
out of his pocket a wax seal, with a little label of parchment attached 
to it, which seemed to be a warrant. 

When Damlip saw the fatal seal he said, “ Well, well, master, now 
I know what the matter is.” “ What?” "asked the keeper. “Truly, 
master, I am to die at Calais.” “ Nay,” said the keeper, “ I trust it 
will not be so.” “ Yes, yes, master, it is most true.” Then the 
keeper, and the prisoners who were confined there, went together to 
supper, much distressed on account of Damlip; yet he himself was 



merry and glad, and supped as heartily as ever he did. Seeing this 
some of those at the table said they marvelled that he could eat his 
meat so well, knowing he was so near his death. “Ah, masters,” 
replied he, “ think you that one who has been God’s prisoner so long 
in the INIarshalsea, has not yet learned to die? Yes, yes, and I doubt 
not but God will strengthen me therein.” 

On the following Monday, early in the morning, the keeper, with 
three others of the knight-marshal’s servants, took Adam Damlip 
to Calais, and there committed him to the mayor’s prison. The fol¬ 
lowing Saturday was the day appointed for his execution. The 
offence which his persecutors laid to his charge was heresy; but 
because by an act of parliament all such offences, done before a 
certain day, were pardoned, yet, because he had received a trifling 
sum from cardinal Pole, given to assist him in his travels, he was 
accused and convicted of treason. 

On the day before Damlip’s execution, one Mote, a priest, came to 
him and said, “Know you what death you are to die? Your four 
quarters shall be hanged at four parts of the town.” “ And where 
shall my head be ?” asked Damlip. “ Upon a pike on the Lantern 
gate,” said Mote. “ Then,” answered Damlip, very calmly, “ I shall 
not need to provide means for my burial” 

At the place of execution Sir R. Ellerker, then knight-marshal 
there, would not allow the poor prisoner to declare his faith or tell 
the cause for which he died, but said to the executioner, “ Dispatch 
the knave, and have done.” Mote, who was appointed to preach there, 
told the people that Damlip had been a sower of seditious doctrine; 
and although he was for that pardoned by the general pardon, yet he 
was condemned for being a traitor against the king. 

When the prisoner would have replied to this. Sir R. Ellerker 
would not suffer him to speak a word, but commanded him to be 
seized, declaring he would not leave the place till he had seen the 
traitor’s heart out. And so most meekly and patiently, the innocent 



martyr submitted to his death; he was first hanged by the neck until 
he was dead, and then his body was cut into four quarters. 

It is said that retribution soon overtook Sir R. Ellerker, and he 
suffered a just punishment for his cruelty. In a skirmish with the 
French at Boulogne, he was slain, and after thieves had stripped 
him naked, they mutilated his body, and so left him an example and 
warning to all bloody and merciless men. 

Martyrdom of Kerry and Clarke. 

The next English martyrs upon record are Kerby and Clarke. 
These men were arrested at Ipswich, and committed to the care of the 
jailor there, named Bird, a very humane man. 

While they were in prison, Kerby was visited by one Robert 
Wingfield, and a Mr. Bruess. Wingfield said to him, '' Remember 
the fire is hot, take heed of thy determination, that thou take no more 
upon thee than thou shalt be able to bear. The terror is great, the 
pain will be extreme, and life is sweet. Better hadst thou beg for 
mercy, while there is yet hope of life, than rashly to begin, and then 
to shrink.” 

Kerby answered, “Ah, master Wingfield, come thou to my burn¬ 
ing, and thou shalt say, ^ There standeth a Christian soldier in the fire f 
for I know that fire and water, sword, and all other things, are in the 
hands of God, and he will suffer no more to be laid upon me than he 
will give me strength to bear.” 

“ Ah, Kerby,” replied Wingfield, “ if thou be in that mind, I 
will bid thee farewell; for I promise thee I am not so strong that I 
am able to burn.” And so both the prisoners said they would pray 
for him; they shook him by the hand, and he left them. 

Kerby and Clarke were soon brought up for examination, before 
lord Wentworth and the other commissioners. The articles of accu¬ 
sation were read to them, and they were asked “Whether they be¬ 
lieved, that after the words spoken by a priest, as Christ spake them 



to his apostles, the bread and wine were the very body and blood 
of Christ, as he was born of the Virgin Mary, and never bread 

To this question the prison'ers firmly answered, ‘^No, we do not 
so believe, but believe the sacrament which Christ instituted at his 
last supper with his apostles, was only to put men in remembrance of 
his precious death and blood-shedding for the remission of sins; and 
that there was neither flesh nor blood to be eaten, but bread and wine, 
and yet more than bread and wine, for that it is consecrated to a holy 

Then many persuasions and threats were used to induce them to 
change this their belief; but they both continued faithful and constant, 
choosing rather to die than to live, if life could be had only by pro¬ 
fessing what they did not believe to be true. 

Sentence was then passed upon them: Kerby to be burned at 
Ipswich on the next Saturday, and Clarke to be burned at Bury 
on the Monday after. The prisoners were then led away, Kerby 
to prison at Ipswich, and Clarke to Bury St. Edmunds. 

On the following Saturday, at about ten o’clock, Kerby was brought 
to the market-place, where a stake was ready, with wood and straw. 
He was then fastened to the stake with irons; lord Wentworth, with 
many other noblemen and gentlemen of the neighborhood, being in 
a gallery, where they might see his execution, and hear what he would 
say. There was also a great number of people standing round about. 
In the gallery, was Dr. Rugham, formerly a monk of Bury, wear¬ 
ing a surplice, with a stole about his neck. 

Silence being ordered. Dr. Rugham began to speak to the assembly. 
As often as he quoted the Scriptures in his discourse, and applied them 
rightly, Kerby told the people that he was right, and bade them believe 
him. But when he did otherwise, Kerby called out, “You say not 
true; believe him not, good people!” 

After this was done, the under-sheriff asked of Kerby whether he 



had anything more to say. “Yea, sir,” said he, “if you will give me 
leave.” “ Say on, then,” said the sheriff 

Then Kerby, taking his cap from his head, cast it from him, and 
lifting up his hands, repeated a hymn, and the apostles’ creed, with 
some prayers in the English tongue. While Kerby was thus speaking, 
lord Wentworth hid his face behind one of the posts of the gallery, 
and wept, as did many others. 

“ Now,” said Kerby, “ I have done : you may do your work, good 
sheriff” After this, fire was set to the wood, and with a loud voice the 
martyr commended his soul to heaven; striking upon his breast, and 
holding up his hands so long as strength remained; and thus he ended 
his life; the people being filled with wonder at such great constancy. 

On the following Monday, about ten o’clock, Roger Clarke was 
brought out of prison, and led on foot to the gate, called Southgate, 
in Bury. On the way he met the procession of the host, but he went 
on, and would not bow, or kneel, but vehemently rebuked what he 
called their idolatry and superstition. 

On arriving at the place of execution, the stake being ready, and 
the wood lying near, he kneeled down, and prayed. Then rising up 
he spoke in a clear voice to the people, while they were fastening him 
to the stake; after which fire was set to him. 

His sufferings were dreadful, for the wood was green, and would 
not burn, so that he was choked with smoke; and moreover, being set 
in a pitch-barrel, with some pitch still sticking to its sides, he was in 
great anguish thereby. But at last a man standing near took a fagot, 
and striking at the ring of iron which was about his neck, and then 
upon his head, he fell down on one side into the fire, and so ended 
his pain. 

Arrest and Trial of Anne Askew. 

This woman came of respectable people and had been decently 
reared. Having joined the reformers and openly expressed her opin- 




ions, she was arrested and put on trial for her life. She underwent 
several examinations, in which she answered the questions that were 
asked her with much boldness. After remaining some time in prison, 
application was made by her relatives for her release. Upon hearing 
this the bishop of London ordered that she should be brought before 
him, at three o’clock the next day, attended by her friends. 

After having been examined by the bishop, Anne was persuaded 
to sign a paper, upon which had been written a formal promise to 
return to the Romish church. She was then released, but was again 
arrested, about a year after her first trial. The following is an account 
written by herself in a letter to a friend, of what took place at her last 

Trial and Torture of Anne Askew. 

“ I was sent from Newgate prison to an inn, the sign of the Crown, 
where Mr. Rich, and the bishop of London, with all their cunning and 
flattering words, went about to persuade me from God; but I did not 
heed them. Then came to me Nicholas Shaxton, and counselled 
me to recant, as he himself had done. I said to him, ' That it had 
been good for him never to have been bornwith many other like 
warnings. Then Mr. Rich sent me to the Tower, where I remained 
till three o’clock, when he came with one of the council, and asked 
me to tell them the names of.every man or woman of my sect. 

“ My answer to their question was, * That I knew none.’ Then 
they asked me of lady Suffolk, lady Sussex, lady Hertford, lady 
Denny, and lady Fitzwilliams. To this I answered, ‘ If I should pro¬ 
nounce anything against them, I would not be able to prove it’ 

Then said they unto me, ‘ That the king was informed that I 
could name, if I would, a great number of my sect.’ I answered, 
‘ That the king was as much deceived by them in that, as he was 
in other matters.’ 

“ Then they commanded me to tell how I was supplied with food 



in prison, and who encouraged me to stick to my opinions. I said, 
‘ that there was no creatu^'e that therein did strengthen me. And 
as for the help that I had in the prison, it was by the means of my 
maid. For as she went abroad in the streets she told my sad case 
to the apprentices, and they did send me money by her; but who 
they were I never knew.’ 

Then they said, ‘ That there were several ladies that had sent me 
money.’ I answered, ‘ That there was a man in a blue coat who de¬ 
livered me ten shillings, and said that my lady of Hertford sent it 
me: and another in a violet coat gave me eight shillings, and said my 
lady Denny sent it me. Whether it were true or no I cannot tell; for 
I am not sure who sent it me, but as the maid did say.’ Then they 
said, ‘There were some of the council who maintained me.’ I said, 
‘ No, that it was not so.’ 

“ Then did they put me on the rack, because I confessed no ladies 
or gentlewomen to be of my opinion, and thereon they kept me a long 
time, and because I lay still and did not cry, my lord chancellor and 
Mr. Rich took pains to rack me with their own hands till I was nigh 
dead. The lieutenant then caused me to be loosed from the rack, 
when I immediately fainted away and they recovered me again. 

“ Then was I brought to a house and laid in a bed, with as weary 
and painful bones as ever had patient Job. My lord chancellor sent 
me word, if I would change my opinions I should want for nothing; if 
I would not, I should forthwith to Newgate, and so be burned. I sent 
him again word, that I would rather die than break my faith. May 
the Lord open the eyes of their blind hearts, that the truth may en¬ 
lighten them. 

“ Farewell, dear friends, and pray for me.” 

The torture of Anne Askew is thus described by another writer: 

She was led down into a dungeon, where Sir Anthony Knevet, the 
lieutenant, commanded his jailer to try her with the rack; which being 
done as much as he thought suiTicient, he was about to take her down. 

4 o6 


supposing that he had done enough. But Wriothesley, the chancellor, 
not satisfied that she should be loosed so soon, having confessed 
nothing, commanded the lieutenant to strain her on the rack again. 
This the lieutenant, out of pity, refused to do. 

He was then threatened by the chancellor, That he would report 
his disobedience to the kingbut remaining unmoved by their threats, 
Wriothesley and Rich, throwing off their gowns, would needs play the 
tormentor themselves till the prisoner’s bones were almost broken, so 
that she had to be carried away in a chair. When the racking was 
ended, the chancellor and Rich both rode off to the court. 

In the meantime, while they were making their way by land, the 
more merciful lieutenant, taking boat, hastened to the court to speak 
with the king before the others. He asked pardon of the king, and 
told him about the racking of Mrs. Askew, and the threats of the 
lord chancellor, because he refused to rack her, which he for com¬ 
passion could not find it in his heart to do, and therefore desired his 
highness’s pardon.” When the king had heard this he seemed not 
to approve their severity, and granted the lieutenant his pardon. 

Burning of Anne Askew. 

On the day appointed for her execution, Anne Askew was brought 
to Smithfield in a chair, being still unable to walk from the hurts she 
had received in prison. 

When she arrived at the stake, she was fastened to it by a chain 
round her body. Three other persons were brought to suffer with 
her, for the same cause. These were Nicholas Belenian, a priest of 
Shropshire; John Adams, a tailor; and John Lacels, a gentleman of 
the king’s household. 

The martyrs being all chained to the stake. Dr. Shaxton, who was 
appointed to preach, commenced his sermon, and this being ended, the 
martyrs began their prayers. 

The crowd of spectators was very great, and on a bench near the 



stake sat the lord chancellor, the duke of Norfolk, the earl of Bed¬ 
ford, the lord mayor, and other persons of consideration. The chan¬ 
cellor sent to Anne Askew letters, offering her the king’s pardon 
if she would recant; but she refused even to look upon them. Then 
the letters were likewise offered to the others, who inspired by the 
courage of the woman, refused not only to receive them, but also to 
look upon them, and continued to cheer and exhort each other to 
be firm to the end of their sufferings, and so to deserve the glory 
they were about to enter; whereupon the lord mayor, command¬ 
ing fire to be put to them, cried, with a loud voice, “Let justice be 

And thus these heroic spirits were surrounded with flames of fire, 
and offered themselves up willingly a living sacrifice. 

Thomas Benet Posts A Notice on the Church Door. 

Thomas Benet was born at Cambridge and educated at the univer¬ 
sity. Becoming converted to the reformed faith he was so grieved in 
conscience, and troubled in spirit to see the uncontrolled power of the 
pope in England, that he said, speaking privately to his friends, “ these 
things I can no longer endure, but must needs, and will declare them 
wrong. And for my own part, for the testimony of my own conscience, 
and for the defence of God’s true religion, I will yield myself most 
patiently (as near as God will give me grace) to die and to shed my 
blood therefore; for I believe that my death will be more profitable 
to the church of God, and for the edifying of his people, than my 
life can ever be.” 

Benet’s friends at first tried to dissuade him from such a dangerous 
course, but at length yielded to his arguments, and promised to pray 
to God for him, that he might be made strong in the cause, and con¬ 
tinue faithful to the end. Benet then prepared for the struggle by 
giving away all his books and papers to his friends. He then wrote 
out two notices, or placards, which he nailed upon the doors of the 



cathedral in the night. The notices bore the following words : “ The 
pope is antichrist. Worship God only and not saints.” 

In the morning, when these notices were found upon the church- 
door, there was a great stir; the clergy were alarmed, and search was 
made for the heretic ” who had been so bold as to defy them. The 
bishop directed that sermons should be preached every day against 
this heresy. 

Benet, who kept close his own secret, went the Sunday following to 
the cathedral, and there, by chance sat down by two men who had 
been the busiest in all the cjty searching for the heretic. They see¬ 
ing Benet, and having before suspected him, said, “ Surely this fellow 
is the heretic that hath set up the bills, and it were good to examine 
him.” But, when they had well watched him, and saw the quiet and 
sober behavior of the man, his attentiveness to the preacher, his godli¬ 
ness in the church, being always occupied with his book, which was 
a Testament in the Latin tongue, they were put off from their purpose, 
and had no will to accuse him, but departed, and left him reading 
his book. 

The priests being unable to discover the guilty one, at length deter¬ 
mined to pronounce a curse against him, whoever he might be. This 
was done, with much ceremony, in the following manner: one of the 
priests, robed all in white, went up into the pulpit. The congregation, 
with some of the two orders of friars and monks, stood round about, 
and the priest began his sermon from the book of Joshua: “There 
is blasphemy in the camp.” 

After preaching a long time, he concluded by saying that “ the foul 
and abominable heretic who had put up such blasphemous bills, was 
for this blasphemy doubly cursed; and prayed God, our Lady, St. Peter, 
patron of that church, with all the holy company of martyrs, confes¬ 
sors, and virgins, that the heretic might be discovered who had put up 
such blasphemous bills.” Then followed the curse, which was uttered 
by the priest in a most solemn voice. 



But Benet, so far from being afraid, laughed aloud at what he 
called their monkish mummery. Upon this, those who stood next to 
him, in great surprise, asked him “ for what cause he laughed.” 

“ My friends,” said he, who can forbear, seeing such merry con¬ 
ceits and practices.” 

Immediately he was seized, and the cry raised, “ Here is the heretic, 
here is the heretic ! hold him fast, hold him fast!” If it had not been 
for the crowd and confusion it would have gone hard with Benet at 
this time, but his enemies, being not quite certain that he was the 
man, released him, and let him go home to his house. 

In spite of this narrow escape, the next morning, early, Benet sent 
a boy with more notices to fasten upon the church-door. As the boy 
was sticking them on, he was seen by a man going to early mass, who 
asked him, “ Whose boy are you ?” and charged him with being the 
guilty one who had put up the bills upon the doors. The man then 
pulled down the bill and brought it, together with the boy, before the 
mayor. It was soon found out that Benet had sent the boy, so he was 
at once arrested and put in prison. 

The next day the magistrates of the city had Benet before them 
and questioned him. To them he confessed what he had done, saying, 
“ It was even I that put up those bills, and if it were to do, I would do 
it again; for in them I have written nothing but what is very truth.” 
“ Couldst not thou,” asked they, “ as well have declared thy mind by 
word of mouth, as by putting up those blasphemous bills ?” No,” 
said Benet; “ I put up the bills, that many should read and hear what 
false teachers ye are, and that they might know your antichrist, the 
pope, to be that boar out of the wood, which destroyeth and throweth 
down the hedges of God’s church. Ye well know if I had been heard 
to speak but one word of this, I should have been clapped fast in 
prison, and the truth of God hidden. But now I trust all your 
doings will come to light; for God will so have it, and no longer will 
suffer you.” 



The next day Benet was sent to the bishop, who committed him to 
prison, where he was kept in the stocks and fastened with strong irons. 
Then the bishop, with Dr. Brewer, his chancellor, and others of his i 
clergy and friars, began to examine and accuse him. 

Benet made so good a defence against these charges and so skilfully 
proved and defended his faith that he surprised them, and they began 
even to feel pity for his situation. The friars took great pains with him 
to persuade him to recant and acknowledge his fault, but it was in vain, 
for he said God had appointed him to be a witness. 

Benet was for eight days constantly beset by priests and friars, who 
tried all their arts to persuade him to be reconciled to the church of 
Rome; but their efforts were vain, for he remained firm in the faith, 
and would not move an inch for all their entreaties. 

His accusers, at last, finding both threats and persuasions alike use¬ 
less, proceeded to judgment, and condemned him to the flames. This 
being done, and the writ brought from London, they delivered him to 
Sir Thomas Dennis, then sheriff of Devonshire, to be burned. 

Benet showed no fear, but even seemed to rejoice that his end was 
so near, and yielded himself, with all humbleness, to suffer a most cruel 
death. Being brought to the place of execution, near Exeter, he made 
an earnest prayer to God, and asked all the people present to pray for 
him. He also begged them to seek the true knowledge and honor 
of God, and to leave the vain pleasures of this world; so that all 
the hearers were astonished, and most of them said, Truly this is 
God’s servant, and a good man.” 

But two men named Thomas Carew and John Barnehouse, standing 
near the stake, urged him to confess his errors, and to call on our Lady 
and the saints. He answered, “ No; upon God only we must call.” 

Barnehouse was so angered at this answer, that he took a furze- 
bush upon a pike, and setting it on fire, thrust it into the martyr’s face, 
saying, “ Heretic! pray to our blessed Lady, or by Heaven I will 
make thee do it!” 



To this Benet patiently answered, “Alas, sir, trouble me not;“ and 
holding up his hands, he prayed to God; whereupon the sheriff’s 
men set the wood and furze on fire, and Benet, lifting up his eyes 
toward heaven, cried out, “ O Lord, receive my spirit!” And so he 
continued in his prayers, until his life was ended. 

King Henry VIII.’s Sickness and Death. 

The king’s health began to fail. He became so fat and unwieldy 
that he could not go up or down stairs, but was let down and drawn 
up in an elevator, when he wanted to sit in his garden. He had an 
ulceration in his leg, which gave him much pain, the humors of his 
body discharging themselves that way, till at last a dropsy came on. 
He had grown more fierce and cruel than ever, and those about him 
were unwilling to tell him death seemed near, for fear he would accuse 
them of treason and send them to the Tower. At last, he made his 
will and signed it. He ordered Gardiner’s name taken from the list 
of his executors. When Sir Anthony Brown endeavored to persuade 
him not to put that disgrace on an old servant, he insisted upon it; for 
he said, “ he knew Gardiner’s temper, and could govern him; but it 
would not be in the power of others to do it, if he were put in so 
high a trust.” 

On the 27th of January, 1547, the king’s spirits sank, and it was 
evident that he had not long to live. Sir Anthony Denny had the 
courage to tell him that death was approaching, and begged him to 
call on God for his mercy. Henry asked that Cranmer be sent for, 
but was speechless before he arrived; though able, by signs, to show 
that he understood what was said to him. Soon afterward he became 
unconscious, and died. He was in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and 
had reigned thirty-seven years and nine months. Henry’s death was 
concealed from the people for three days; and the parliament continued 
to sit till the 31st of January, when his decease was made known to 
the public. 




Edward VL, the son of Henry VIII. and his third wife, Jane 
Seymour, was only ten years old when his father died. A council 
was formed to rule in Edward’s name. At the head of it was his 
uncle, the duke of Somerset, who was made protector. Somerset 
was a Protestant, and with the help of Cranmer made many changes 
in the forms of worship in England. 

King Henry VI 11 . had wished to arrange a marriage between his 
son and Mary, queen of Scots, who at this time was only about five 
years of age. The protector tried to carry out this plan; but the 
Scots would not agree. An army was sent against them, and they 
were defeated at Pinkie, near Edinburgh. To prevent the young 
queen from being carried off to England, her friends sent her to 
France, where she was educated, and afterward married to the eldest 
son of the French king. 

Religious Changes. 

The protector and Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury, con¬ 
tinued to make many changes in the church. Priests were allowed 
to marry, images in churches were destroyed, a new prayer-book in 
the English language was made, and mass was forbidden to be said. 

These changes, together with the poverty from which the people 
suffered, caused revolts in Devonshire, Cornwall, and Norfolk. The 
common people were in great distress, the laws were severe, work was 

scarce, and thieves and sturdy beggars abounded. Somerset was 



sorry for the poor people; but he was not a wise ruler, and could 
make no plan to help them. The lords who were about him had no 
pity for their sufferings; they put down the revolt by force, and things 
went on as before. 

Fall of Somerset. 

The protector was fond of money as well as of power. He built 
himself a grand palace in London, which is still known as the Somer¬ 
set House. To make room for it, he blew up a chapel with gunpow¬ 
der and pulled down a church. Such actions shocked the people, 
and set them against him. He had to give up his high position as 
protector, and not long afterward was put to death on a charge of 
trying to seize the government again by force. 

The new protector who filled his place was Dudley, earl of War¬ 
wick ; he was made duke of Northumberland. He sent Gardiner and 
Bonner, the Roman Catholic bishops of London and Winchester, to 
prison in the Tower, and put Latimer and Ridley, two Protestant 
bishops, in their places. As king Edward grew older he became 
a strong Protestant. 

Death of Edward. 

On the 6th of July, 1553, Edward, who was then only sixteen 
years of age, died of consumption. The duke of Northumberland, 
afraid of what might happen should Mary become queen, had per¬ 
suaded Edward to set aside his father’s will, and name the Protestant 
Lady Jane Grey as his successor. She was the granddaughter of 
Mary Tudor, a daughter of Henry VH; and was at this time a 
young girl of about the same age as the king. When Edward’s 
will had been made in favor of Lady Jane, the protector married her 
to his own son, lord Guilford Dudley. In this way he hoped, as 
father-in-law of the future queen of England, to keep the govern¬ 
ment of the kingdom in his own hands. 

During the reign of Edward VI. much good was done by the 



founding of eighteen grammar schools in different parts of the king¬ 
dom. No person was put to death for his religion during his reign. 
Although so young Edward was a good scholar himself, and he also 
had a kind heart. He founded Christ’s Hospital, in London, gen¬ 
erally known as the Bluecoat School for orphans, from the strange, 
old-fashioned dress of the boys, which they still wear. It consists of 
a long blue coat, like a monk’s gown, reaching to the ankles, with 
a broad leathern belt, bright yellow stockings, and buckled shoes. 




We now come to the most thrilling period in the history of the 
English martyrs, the reign of Mary, that bloody queen whose name 
has ever since been associated with cruelty and murder. It is true 
that even she has found defenders, who have claimed that nearly all 
the people who suffered death during her reign had been convicted of 
treason—for rising in defence of Lady Jane Grey’s title to the crown. 
But the answer to this is that treason was not punished by the stake 
in England. Traitors were not burned, but beheaded, or hanged. 
Then, too, they were tried before the regular courts—not by the 
bishops. Even admitting that the bishops had the power to judge 
they could not punish such offenders. Moreover, the records of the 
trials of the martyrs are still in existence, and show that they were 
carried on exactly in accordance with the bishops’ own bloody statute 
against heretics. Nothing is more certain, therefore, than that few, 
if any of the persons burned in England, during the reign of queen 
Mary, were ever accused of treason or tried at common law. 

Queen Mary: a Short History of Her Life. 

Mary was the daughter of Henry VIII. and Catharine of Arragon. 
She was born in the earlier part of her parents’ married life, at Green¬ 
wich, in 1516. Historians disagree as to the extent of Mary’s personal 
responsibility for the many executions of Protestants which took place 
during her reign. Those most favorably disposed toward her say that 
her evil name for cruelty is largely due to the rebellious state of Eng¬ 
land at that time, and to the severe measures taken by her ministers to 


4 i6 


restore order. But, at least, there is no reason to doubt she could 
have stopped the dreadful executions of Protestants which disgraced 
her reign, had she so desired. 

It is certain that Mary’s disposition was embittered, and her early 
life made miserable by her father’s efforts to secure a divorce from her 
mother, and his unfeeling treatment of them both. During the greater 
part of that unhappy period, mother and daughter seem to have been 
kept apart, and strictly forbidden to see each other. Removed from 
court, and treated as illegitimate, Mary was, on the birth of Anne Boleyn’s 
daughter compelled to give up her rank of princess, her household was 
broken up, and she was sent to serve as lady-in-waiting upon her infant 
sister. Mary’s health was, moreover, poor, and even while she was 
seriously ill, Henry refused to permit her mother to visit her, and even 
when Catherine herself lay dying, Mary was forbidden to take a last 
farewell. After Anne Boleyn had fallen from favor, and was executed, 
Mary’s rights as princess were restored by her father, but she was first 
forced to acknowledge his supreme power, to deny the pope’s author¬ 
ity, and confess that her own mother’s marriage to the king had been 
unlawful; all of which was not only contrary to her belief, but most 
humiliating to her pride. 

During the reign of Mary’s brother, Edward VL, she bitterly disap¬ 
proved of the changes made in the form of worship throughout the 
kingdom. It is said that she thought seriously of escaping from Eng¬ 
land and taking refuge in France. She regarded the cause of the pope 
as her own, for not only had he held her mother’s marriage to be legal, 
but by education and by nature she was a faithful daughter of the 
church of Rome. When Edward’s parliament passed an Act of 
Uniformity, requiring services in the churches to be in English, Mary 
continued to attend mass in her private chapel under the old form. 
When this was forbidden she appealed for protection to the emperor 
Charles V. of Spain, who, being her cousin, went to the extreme of 
threatening England with war if Mary’s religion was interfered with. 



Edward’s early death was followed by efforts to deprive Mary of 
her rights, and to make Lady Jane Grey queen. When this trouble 
had been overcome, and Mary found herself at last seated on the 
throne of England, she naturally turned to those who had defended 
her own and her mother’s cause in past times of adversity. The 
counsels of the pope and Charles V. of Spain were chiefly relied upon 
to guide her course, and she soon agreed to marry Philip II. of Spain, 
the son of the emperor, though he was eleven years younger than 
herself, and much disliked by most of her subjects; she also deter¬ 
mined to restore the old religion. Both these projects met with bit¬ 
ter opposition. Parliament sent a deputation to entreat the queen not 
to marry a Spaniard. When her determination became known, insur¬ 
rections broke out in different parts of the country, and the queen was 
even at one time besieged in her own palace at Westminster. This 
rebellion being put down at last, Mary carried out her plans, married 
Philip II. of Spain, and restored the power of the Roman church in 

But it seemed she was destined to be unhappy to the last; she soon 
found her husband did not love her, and had married her only to gain 
English ships and money to aid in carrying on Spanish wars. This 
being opposed by the nation, Philip but seldom came to England. 
Deserted and miserable, Mary listened more and more to those 
gloomy counsellors, the persecuting bishops; and England during the 
last three years of her reign was darkened by the smoke of martyr’s 
flres. Her health which had always been poor became worse; she suf¬ 
fered from a painful chronic disease, and in November, 1558, the sixth 
year of her evil reign, she died of a fever. Nearly three hundred 
persons were burned alive in England while Mary was queen. 

Mary’s Crown Disputed by the Friends of Lady Jane Grey. 

Upon the death of Edward VI., the crown belonged, according to 

law, to his eldest sister, Mary. But the duke of Northumberland 

4 i8 


proclaimed Lady Jane Grey, his son’s wife, queen of England. Lady 
Jane was a beautiful young girl of only sixteen, amiable in disposition, 
and of quiet, studious tastes. When the lords who came to offer her 
the crown fell on their knees before her, and told her she was queen, she 
was so astonished that she fainted. On recovering, she expressed her 
sorrow for young king Edward’s death, and said that she knew she 
was not fit to govern the kingdom ; but that if it was required of her 
to be queen, she prayed God to direct her aright. 

But the people were not at all favorable to Lady Jane; they 
knew that Mary had the right to the throne. The duke of Northum¬ 
berland sent soldiers to seize Mary and prevent her from going to 
London; but she was too quick for them, and entered the city, where 
the people received her with shouts of joy. After only ten days of 
royalty. Lady Jane gave up the crown with great willingness, saying 
that she had only accepted it in obedience to her father and mother, 
and went gladly back to her home and her books. The duke of 
Northumberland was soon after sent to the Tower and beheaded, and 
Mary was crowned at Westminster in the usual form. 

Cruel Execution of Lady Jane Grey. 

Mary was no sooner firm upon her throne than Lady Jane Grey 
was brought to trial for treason. Her youth—she was at this time 
only seventeen—and her beauty, did not save her. She was quickly 
convicted, and her death-warrant signed by the pitiless queen. Before 
her execution they tried to persuade the poor young girl to become a 
convert to the Romish church, but she steadily refused to forsake the 
reformed faith. 

On the morning Lady Jane was to die she saw from her prison- 
window the bleeding and headless body of her husband brought back 
in a cart from the scaffold on Tower Hill, the place of public execu¬ 
tion, where he had laid down his life. She had refused to see him 
before he was led out to die, lest she should break down when her 



own turn came, and not make a good end. Even when she saw his 
mutilated corpse carried past in the gallows cart, she showed a con¬ 
stancy and calmness that were wonderful. 

Mounting the scaffold Lady Jane advanced with a firm step and 
composed face, and addressed the bystanders in a steady voice. There 
were not many there to see her die; for she was too young, too inno¬ 
cent and fair, to be murdered before the crowd on Tower Hill, as her 
husband had just been; so the place of her execution was within the 
Tower itself Before she put her head on the fatal block she said she 
had done an unlawful act in taking what was queen Mary’s right, but 
that she had done so with no bad intent, and that she died a humble 
Christian. She then begged the headsman to despatch her quickly, 
and to cause her to suffer no longer than he could help. She was 
very quiet while they bandaged her eyes, then they guided her to 
the block and the executioner struck off her head. 

Beginning of Queen Mary’s Reign. 

Other executions for treason followed until, having avenged herself 
upon all who had sought to prevent her reaching the throne, Mary 
turned to the chief business of her reign, the restoration of the Roman 
Catholic form of worship, and the power of the pope in England. 

Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury, was sent to prison in the 
Tower. So were Latimer, Ridley, and many others. Those fierce 
and gloomy priests Gardiner and Bonner were brought out of prison, 
and put into their old places. The married priests were forced to give 
up their churches. Mass was ordered to be said, and the new English 
prayer-book Avas forbidden. 

Although there were some who welcomed the restoration of the 
old form of worship, no one wished to have the pope at the head of 
the English church again. This, however, was what Mary was de¬ 
termined upon. She would not call herself head of the church, as 
she believed the pope had a right to that place; but as the queen 



of England, with the power in her own hands, she exerted every 
effort to re-establish his supremacy. 

Marriage of Queen Mary. 

As previously told, Mary took for a husband, her cousin, Philip II., 
king of Spain, for he was the most powerful and the “ most Catholic'' 
sovereign in Europe, and could best help her in carrying out her plans. 
This marriage did not please the English people. They had heard of 
the cruel tortures in the gloomy prisons of the inquisition in Spain; 
there were even some among them who had suffered from the rack 
of the inquisitors; and they at least, had no longing to be again in 
the power of the king of that country. 

Philip himself was a haughty and bigoted tyrant; he cared nothing 
for his wife; who, however, loved him as devotedly as it was possible 
for one of her nature to love any one; and as time went on was heart¬ 
broken by his coldness and neglect. Philip was very angry because 
parliament refused to give him the title of king of England; he there¬ 
fore remained there only about a year, and then returned to Spain. 

The queen, having persuaded parliament to acknowledge the pope 
as head of the church, he sent cardinal Pole as his legate to England, 
and Mary made him archbishop of Canterbury. Then a law was 
passed giving power to the church to give over for burning all per¬ 
sons who refused to acknowledge the pope. Terrible scenes were 
soon to be witnessed in England as a result of this law. 

Trial and Execution of Rev. John Rogers. 

Rev. John Rogers, an aged minister, was in charge of the church 
of St. Sepulchre, Snow Hill, London. He was the first to fall a victim 
to the law which had just been passed. He had long been known as 
an earnest upholder of the reformed faith, and had acted at one time 
as chaplain to the English society of merchants at Antwerp. While 
in that city he had become acquainted with Tyndale, the translator, 



and had aided him in distributing the New Testament in English. 
Believing marriage to be lawful for the clergy as well as for other men, 
Rogers had married a wife in Antwerp, and continued to live there 
until Edward ascended the throne of England. He then returned 
to his native country, and was promoted by bishop Ridley to be an 
assistant at St. Paul’s, London; he also kept his place as vicar of 
St. Sepulchre’s. 

Rogers continued to hold these places until the death of king 
Edward. In the second year of queen Mary’s reign he preached a 
sermon against the growing power of the pope in England, enlarged 
on the virtues of the late king, and urged the people to remain true 
to the reformed religion. For this sermon he was summoned before 
the council, but he defended himself so ably that he was dismissed 
with a warning. 

This indulgence on the part of the couocil displeased the queen, 
as she considered Rogers a mischievous heretic, so he was arrested 
a second time; yet such was the respect felt for him that he was 
again let go, but cautioned not to leave his own house. This order 
he obeyed, although he might have made his escape if he would. He 
knew he could have a church in Germany if he applied for it, and he 
had a wife and eleven children to support, but all these things did not 
move him; he did not court death, but he was willing to meet it fear¬ 
lessly when it came. 

Rogers remained confined in his own house for several weeks, until 
Bonner, bishop of London, had him committed to Newgate prison, 
where he was shut in with thieves and murderers. He was afterward 
brought a third time before the council, where Gardiner, bishop of 
Winchester, presided. It was not, however, with any intention of 
showing mercy to the prisoner, nor with a view of convincing him 
of error, that he was brought there, for his death had already been 
decided on. After he had been examined before the council, he was 
turned over to Bonner, bishop of London, who declared him to be 



an obstinate heretic. A report of this was sent in the regular way 
to the court, and a writ was issued for the burning of Rogers at 
Smithfield. This dreadful sentence does not seem to have alarmed 
him ; for he is said to have prepared himself even with cheerfulness 
for the day he was to suffer. 

On the 4th of February, in the year 1555, in the morning, the 
prisoner was warned suddenly by the keeper’s wife, to prepare him¬ 
self for the fire. Being sound asleep, he could scarcely be awakened. 
At length being roused, and told to make haste, he said, “ Is then 
this the day? If it be so, I need not be careful of my dressing.” 
Rogers was taken first to Bonner to be degraded; that done, he 
begged of Bonner one favor. And Bonner asking what that should 
be, he said, “ Only that I might talk a few words with my wife before 
burning.” This request, it is said, Bonner refused to grant. Now 
when the time had come, the prisoner was brought from Newgate 
to Smithfield, the place of his execution. Here Woodroofe, one 
of the sheriffs, asked him if he would change his religion to save 
his life; but Rogers answered, “ That which I have preached I will 
seal with my blood.” “ Then,” said Woodroofe, “ thou art a heretic.” 
“That shall be known,” replied Rogers, “at the day of judgment.” 
“ Well,” said Woodroofe, “ I will never pray for thee.” “ But I will 
pray for thee,” replied Rogers. 

So Rogers was brought by the sheriffs toward Smithfield, repeat¬ 
ing the fifty-first psalm by the way, all the people greatly wondering 
at his constancy; and there, in the presence of Rochester, comptroller 
of the queen’s household; Sir Richard Southwell; the sheriffs, and a 
large number of people, he was fastened to the stake and burned to 

It is related, that “ Roger’s wife and eleven children, ten of whom 
were able to walk and one was at the breast, met him by the way as 
he went toward Smithfield. This sorrowful sight of his own flesh 
and blood did not move him; but he constantly and cheerfully took 



his death with wonderful patience in the defence of Christ’s gospel. 
A little before his burning at the stake, his pardon was brought, if 
he would have recanted, but he utterly refused it. He was the first 
martyr of all the blessed company that suffered in queen Maiy’s time 
at the fire.'’ 

Martyrdom of Laurence Saunders. 

The next to suffer was Rev. Laurence Saunders. He had been 
educated at Cambridge, and found his first employment with Sir Wil¬ 
liam Chester, a rich merchant of London, who was afterward sheriff 
of that city. Saunders had not been long in this place, when he be¬ 
came weary of a tradesman’s life. He lost his spirits, and pined to 
be released from an employment so little to his taste. His master, 
who was a kindly man, took notice of his clerk’s despondency and 
asked the reason for it. The young man told him that he wanted 
to continue his studies in college, so as to prepare himself for the 
ministry, whereupon the merchant generously gave him back his 
papers of apprenticeship, and sent him home to his relations. 

Overjoyed at his release, Saunders lost no time in returning to 
his studies at Cambridge, fully determined to qualify himself as a 
preacher. He especially devoted himself to the study of the Greek 
and Hebrew languages, so that he could read the Scriptures in the 
original tongues. Having completed his course, at the beginning of 
king Edward’s reign, when the reformers were in the ascendant, 
Saunders began to preach with great success. His first appoint¬ 
ment was at Fotheringham, where he read a divinity lecture; but 
that college soon being closed, he was appointed a preacher at Lich¬ 
field. He married about this time, and won the respect of all by 
his active and useful life in the ministry. 

While Saunders was thus attending to the work of his parish, king 
Edward died, and queen Mary succeeded to the throne. In the second 
year of her reign a royal proclamation was sent out requiring all 



persons to attend mass. Many refused to obey this, and no one was 
more determined in his refusal than Laurence Saunders. He con¬ 
tinued to preach whenever he had an opportunity, and recommended 
the prayer-book, with the Scriptures, to the people. 

One day as Saunders was coming to the city of London, Sir John 
Mordant, a councillor to queen Mary, overtook him, and asked him 
where he was going. I have,” said Saunders, '' an appointment to 
preach at London, and now I am going there to instruct my peo¬ 
ple according to my duty.” 

“ If you will follow my counsel,” said Mordant, “ let them alone, and 
go not to them.” To this Saunders answered, “ How shall I then be 
excused, if any of them be sick and desire consolation, if any want 
good counsel and need instruction, or if any should slip into error 
and receive false doctrine?” 

“ Did you not, said Mordant, preach last Sunday in Bread street, in 
London?” '‘Yes, truly,” said Saunders, “that is where my church 
is.” “ I heard you myself,” said Mordant: “and will you preach there 
again?” “ If it please you,” said Saunders, “to-morrow you may hear 
me preach again in that same place.” 

“ I would advise you,” said Mordant, “ not to preach.” Saunders 
answered, “ If you can and will forbid me by lawful authority, then 
must I obey.” 

“ Nay,” replied Mordant, “ I will not go so far as to forbid you, 
but I do give you warning.” And then they both entered the city, 
and parted from each other,—Mordant, in a spirit of malice, going 
at once to give information to Bonner, bishop of London. 

The next morning, being Sunday, Saunders preached as he had 
intended; exhorting his people to be steadfast in the truth, and not 
to fear those who can only kill the body. He was listened to by 
a great crowd of people, which gave much offence to the clergy, par¬ 
ticularly to bishop Bonner. No notice, however, was taken of him 
in the forenoon, but in the afternoon, when he made ready to 



preach again, Bonner sent an officer to arrest him. The minister 
went away quietly with the officer, and Sir John Mordant appeared 
to give evidence against him. 

When Saunders appeared before bishop Bonner, he was roughly 
charged with disobeying the queen's command. “ How happeneth it, 
cried the bishop, that, notwithstanding the queen’s proclamation to 
the contrary, you have continued to preach!” 

Saunders did pot deny that he had preached. He said he saw the 
perilous times at hand, and did but exhort his flock to persevere in the 
doctrine which they had learned; saying also, that he was moved and 
urged forward to it by the command to obey God rather than man : 
and, moreover, that nothing had stirred him thereto but his own 

“ A goodly conscience, surely !” said the bishop. “ This your con¬ 
science would make our queen not entitled to her crown; would it 
not, I pray you ?” 

Saunders replied, We do not declare or say that the queen has 
no right to the throne. But let those take care who have declared it, 
and whose writings are yet in the hands of men—by this meaning 
the bishop himself, who had, to get the favor of Henry VIIL, written 
a book in which he openly declared queen Mary to be illegitimate, 
and therefore not able to inherit the throne. “ And,” said Saunders, 
as to our preaching, we do only profess and teach the purity of the 
Word; and, although we may now be forbidden to speak with our 
mouths, our lives hereafter shall testify.” 

The bishop being put out of countenance by this, cried, Carry 
away the frenzied fool to prison.” Saunders answered, that he did 
give God thanks who had given him at last a place of rest and quiet¬ 
ness, where he might pray for the bishop’s conversion. 

Saunders remained in the Marshalsea prison for a year and three 
months ; during which time he sent letters to Cranmer, Ridley, and Lati¬ 
mer, and also to others, complaining of the cruelty of the queen, and 



injustice of the bishops. His wife used to come to the prison to see 
him, carrying her young child in her arms. When Saunders saw the 
child he clasped him to his breast, and rejoiced greatly, saying, how^ 
happy he was in having such a son; and all who were in the prison 
admired the beauty of the boy. 

At last, being brought before the council for his final examination, 
Saunders was asked many questions, all of which he answered boldly, 
caring more to uphold what he considered the truth than to save his 
life. He was soon found guilty of heresy, and sent to the Compter 
prison to await his sentence. Saunders’ treatment in this place was 
less severe than it had been in the Marshalsea prison, and he was able 
to see his friends, many of whom visited him. But this was not to last 
long. His enemies were untiring in their efforts to hasten on his 
dreadful punishment. In a few weeks the sheriff of London came 
and took him out of prison, and delivered him to the queen’s guard, 
who had been ordered to take him to the city of Coventry to be 

As the company were coming into the town of Coventry, a poor 
shoemaker came to the prisoner as he stood among the soldiers, and 
said to him, O my good master, God strengthen and comfort you.” 

“ Good shoemaker,” cried Saunders, pray for me; for I am the 
unworthiest man to be chosen for this sacrifice that ever was appointed 
to it; but I doubt not that my gracious God and Father is able to 
make me strong enough for it.” That night he was put into the 
common jail among the other prisoners, where he slept little, but 
spent the night in prayer. On the next day he was led to the place 
of burning in a park without the city. He had but an old gown and 
shirt to wear, and was barefooted, and he often fell flat on the ground, 
and prayed. 

When he was come near to the place, the officer, who was appointed 
to see the execution done, cried out that the prisoner was one of those 
who marred the queen’s realm with false doctrine and heresy, “ where- 




fore thou hast deserved death,” said he; “ but yet, if thou wilt revoke 
thine heresies, the queen will pardon thee; if not, yonder fire is pre¬ 
pared for thee.” 

To this Saunders answered. It is not I, nor my fellow-preachers of 
God’s truth, that have hurt the queen’s realm, but it is yourself, and 
such as you, who have always resisted God’s holy word; it is you who 
have, and who do mar the queen’s realm. I maintain no heresies; but 
the doctrine of God, the blessed Gospel of Christ, that I hold to, that 
I believe, that I have taught, and that will I never revoke. 

Then cried the officer, “ Away with him!” And away they hurried 
him to the stake. When he had come to it he fell to the ground, and 
prayed; and then rose up again, took the stake to which he was to be 
chained, in his arms, and kissed it, saying, “ Welcome the cross of 
Christ, welcome everlasting life.” Such were the last words of Laurence 
Saunders, who may well be compared to the ancient martyrs of the 
church; both in fervent zeal for the truth and constant patience in 
his suffering, as also for the cruel torments that he sustained in the 
flames of fire. For so his cruel tormentors hated him that they burned 
him with green wood rather than dry fuel, which put him to much 
more pain. But the grace and consolation of Christ, who never for¬ 
sakes his servants, gave him patience to bear all their torments. 

Sufferings and Death of Bishop Hooper. 

The name of this good man will ever be remembered for his devo¬ 
tion to the reformed faith, and for the sufferings he cheerfully endured 
in upholding it. 

John Hooper was a graduate of Oxford university. He entered 
the ministry and began to preach early in the reign of king Henry 
VIII. Being suspected of heresy he was obliged to flee to France. 
Borrowing for this purpose a horse to carry him to the sea-coast, he 
took ship, and after many hardships reached Paris. However, he 
did not stay there long, but in a short time returned to England, and 


lived with his friends, until he was again threatened, and compelled 
to take to the sea again and thus escape through France to the north¬ 
ern part of Germany. In Germany, he became acquainted with learned 
and religious people, and was kindly entertained at Basle, and espe¬ 
cially at Zurich, by his faithful friend, Bullinger. At Zurich, Hooper, 
after a time, married, and lived in much comfort, devoting most of his 
time to the study of Hebrew, so as to fit himself for the translation 
of the Scriptures. 

At length, when the persecutions of Henry VIII. had ceased, and 
king Edward began to reign over England, Hooper, together with 
many other English exiles, prepared to return home. Bidding fare¬ 
well to Bullinger, and his friends in Zurich, Hooper took ship for Eng¬ 
land, and coming to London, he began to preach. His sermons were 
eagerly listened to, and the people came in great numbers to hear him; 
so that often when he was preaching, the church would be so full that 
none could enter further than the doors. 

After Hooper had thus labored in London for some time, king 
Edward VL appointed him one of his chaplains, and soon after made 
him bishop of Gloucester. Not only was this high place given him, 
but also, the bishopric of Winchester was committed to his care. 

As bishop Hooper had lived so long in Germany he especially 
disliked Romish ceremonies, and before he went to his bishopric, he 
requested the king that he might not be obliged to observe them. 
This request the king granted, though much against the wishes of 
some of the other bishops. 

Bishop Hooper differed from the men of the time, in other ways, 
for instead of seeking worldly honors, he would never have accepted 
any advancement had it not been pressed on him. Having the care 
of two dioceses, he held and guided them both together, as if they 
had been but one. His spare time, of which he had but little, he 
spent in hearing and settling disputes, and in study of the Scriptures. 
He also visited the schools, and encouraged young people in the pur- 



suit of learning. He had children of his own, whom he dearly loved, 
and treated with all the tenderness of a good parent. 

Bishop Hooper kept a hospitable house, with a table set daily for 
the poor—which was a very urgent and necessary charity in those 
times, because many persons who had been driven out of the con¬ 
vents and monasteries, wandered starving up and down the land. 

Bishop Hooper continued to fulfill his duty as a faithful pastor 
during the whole of king Edward’s reign; but the death of the king 
changed all this. No sooner did Mary have the kingdom within her 
grasp, than she sent a sergeant-at-arms to arrest bishop Hooper on 
two charges. First, that he had unlawfully deprived bishop Heath 
of his diocese of Gloucester; second, that he had made accusations 
before king Edward against bishop Bonner. 

The following is Hooper’s own account of his imprisonment. 

Imprisonment of Bishop Hooper. 

“On the 1st of September, 1553, I was sent to the Fleet, and 
although I paid the warden the customary fee of five pounds to 
have the liberty of the prison, yet was I closely confined in a cell 
in the tower chamber of the Fleet for three months, and used very 
harshly. Then, by the kind pleading of a good gentlewoman, I was 
allowed to come down to dinner and supper, though not suffered to 
speak with any of my friends; but as soon as dinner or supper was 
done, to go back to my cell again. Even whilst I came down thus 
to dinner and supper, the warden and his wife sought quarrels with 
me, and complained untruly of me to their master, Gardiner, bishop 
of Winchester. 

“ After three months of this imprisonment, Babington the warden, 
and his wife, quarrelled with me about the observance of mass; there¬ 
upon the warden went to Gardiner, and obtained leave to put me into 
the common prison with thieves and outcasts. Here I remained a long 
time, having no bed but a little pad of straw, until some good people 


sent me bedding to lie on. On the one side of the room is the sink 
and filth of the house, and on the other side the town ditch, so that 
the stench of them caused me to fall ill. 

“ During all the time I lay sick, with the doors all closed and 
made fast upon me, I have called and cried for help. But the warden, 
although he hath known me many times ready to die, and when even 
the prisoners of the wards have called to help me, he hath commanded 
the doors to be kept fast, and charged that none of his men should 
come to me, saying, ‘ Let him alone, if he were to die it were a good 
riddance of him.’ 

“ And this, notwithstanding, I paid many pounds in fees to the said 
warden, as well as for my board, which was twenty shillings a week, 
besides my man’s table, until I was wrongfully deprived of my bishop¬ 
ric ; and since that time I have paid him as much as the best gentle¬ 
man in his house, yet he hath used me worse and more vilely than 
the worst criminal that ever came to the jail. 

“ The warden also imprisoned my man, William Downton, and 
stripped him of his clothes to search for letters, and could find none 
but only a little list of good people’s names, that gave me their alms 
to relieve me in prison; and to betray them also, the warden delivered 
this list of names to Gardiner, my most bitter enemy. 

“ I have suffered imprisonment almost eighteen months; my goods, 
living, friends, and comfort have been taken from me; the queen owing 
me by just account eighty pounds or more. She hath put me in prison, 
and giveth nothing to support me, neither is there any one allowed to 
come to me whereby I might have relief. I am in the hands of a 
wicked man and woman, Gardiner and the queen, so that I see no 
escape (saving God’s help), but to die in prison before I come to 
judgment. But I commit my just cause to God, whose will be done, 
whether it be by life or death.” 

Hooper was at last taken from his dungeon and brought before 
Gardiner, and other bishops appointed to examine him. Gardiner 



urged Hooper to forsake the evil and corrupt doctrine (as he termed 
it) preached in the days of king Edward VL, and to return to the 
unity of the church, and to acknowledge the pope to be head of the 
same, according to the act of parliament. Bonner promised that as 
he himself, with others of his brethren, had received the pope’s bless¬ 
ing and the queen’s mercy, even so mercy was ready to be shown 
to Hooper and others, if they would join with them, and acknowl¬ 
edge the pope’s supremacy. 

Hooper answered, that in his opinion, the pope taught doctrine 
contrary to the Scriptures, and was scarce worthy even to be ac¬ 
counted a member of Christ’s church, much less to be the head of 
it. Whereupon the assembled bishops ordered him back to the prison 
again. Hooper was brought before the commissioners for a further 
hearing about a week later, and after much questioning and argument 
was commanded to stand aside, until John Rogers, whose history has 
already been told, had been examined. Both examinations being 
ended, the two sheriffs of London were commanded, about four 
o’clock, to take the prisoners to the Compter prison, in Southwark, 
there to remain till the morrow at nine o’clock, to see whether they 
would repent and come back again into the church. 

So Hooper went before with one of the sheriffs, and Rogers came 
after with the other, and being out of the church door. Hooper looked 
back, and waited a little till Rogers drew near, when he said, “ Come, 
brother Rogers, must we two take this matter first in hand, and stand 
in the fire of those fagots?” '‘Yea, sir,” said Rogers, “by God’s 
grace.” “ Doubt not,” said Hooper, “ but God will give us strength.” 
Thus they passed along and there was a great press of people in the 
streets, who wondered at their courage. 

On the next day they were again brought by the sheriffs before the 
bishop and commissioners. And after long and earnest talk, when 
they perceived that Hooper would by no means yield to them, they 
condemned him to be degraded, and read to him his condemnation, 



I'liat done, Rogers was brought before them, and treated in like 
manner, and so they delivered both of them to the secular power, the 
two sheriffs of London, who were ordered to cany them to prison. 

When it was dark. Hooper was led by the sheriff’s men armed with 
many weapons, first through the bishop of Winchester’s house, and so 
over London bridge, through the city, to Newgate prison. And some 
of the officers were told to go on before, and put out the hucksters’ 
candles, who used to sit with lights in the streets; either because they 
feared the people would make some attempt to take their prisoner 
away by force, or else because they thought darkness more fit for 
such a business. 

But notwithstanding this, many of the people had some knowledge 
of Hooper’s coming, and came forth at their doors with lights, and 
spoke to him, praising him for his constancy in the true doctrine which 
he had taught them, and hoping God would strengthen him in the 
same to the end. Hooper, as he passed by, asked the people to pray 
for him, and so he went through Cheapside to the place appointed, 
and was delivered a close prisoner to the keeper of Newgate, where 
he remained six days, nobody being permitted to come to him, or talk 
with him, but his keepers. 

After Hooper had been one week in Newgate, Bonner, bishop of 
London, came to the prison, and degraded him. This was done by 
first putting on him the robes worn by priests, and then taking them 
off again with solemn ceremony. They did not put on him the 
bishop’s robes, because they did not admit of his right to that office. 
While they were stripping him of the robes, he told them he was glad 
to part with them, as he no longer wanted to be of their company. 

A few hours after they had left him, the keeper came and told him 
he would be sent down to Gloucester, the next day, to suffer death. 
Upon hearing this Hooper lifted up his hands and thanked God that 
he was to die among his own people, as he thought it would be the 

means of confirming them in the faith he had taught. He then sent 



for his boots and cloak, that he might be ready to ride with the 
officers whenever they should come for him. 

On Tuesday, about four in the morning, he was led out of prison 
by the sheriff, and taken to an inn, the sign of the Angel, near St 
Dunstan’s church. Fleet-street. There he was received by the queen’s 
officers, who had the warrant for his execution. At break of day he 
cheerfully mounted the horse they brought for him, without help. He 
was given a hood to wear under his hat, so that he might not be 
recognized. Thus disguised, but with a serene and cheerful counte¬ 
nance, he started on the road to Gloucester, attended by his keepers. 
The guards asked him what inns he had been in the habit of stopping 
at on the road; and when he told them, in order to disoblige him, 
they took him to others. 

On Thursday they came to Cirencester, a town in his own diocese, 
and about eleven miles from Gloucester. Here they dined at the house 
of a woman who hated the Protestants, and bishop Hooper as well; 
but when she saw his kindly, untroubled face, she was so affected that 
she lamented his sad fate with tears, and begged his pardon for the 
manner in which she had formerly spoken of him. Dinner being over, 
they went on to Gloucester, arriving about five in the afternoon. A 
great many people were gathered together there; so that one of the 
guard, fearing a rescue, rode up to the mayor’s house to get more 
soldiers. These being sent, the people moved further away. Hooper 
was that night lodged in the house of one Robert Ingram, where he 
ate his supper with a good appetite, and then went to his room and 
slept very quietly, as the guard declared, for they staid in the chamber 
with him all the night. 

In the morning Hooper arose, and prayed earnestly for Divine aid 
during his coming trial. And many of his friends came to his room 
to speak with him; among others. Sir Anthony Kingston, who, 
although formerly his friend, was on this occasion appointed by the 
queen to be one of the commissioners to attend the burning. Kingston 



being brought into the chamber, found the prisoner quietly sitting there; 
and as soon as he saw Hocper, he shed tears. Hooper at first did not 
know him. Then Kingston said, “ Why, my lord bishop, do you not 
know me, an old friend of yours, Anthony Kingston ?” 

“Yes, master Kingston,” said Hooper, “now I do know you very 
well, and am glad to see you in good health.” 

“ But I am sorry,” answered Kingston, “ to see you in this sad case; 
for, as I understand, you are come hither to die. But, alas ! consider 
that life is sweet, and death is bitter. Therefore, seeii?^ life may be 
had for the asking, consent to live; for your life hereafter may do much 

“ Indeed,” said Hooper, “it is true, master Kingston, I am come 
hither to end my life, and to suffer death here, because I will not deny 
the truth that I have taught amongst you in this diocese, and else¬ 
where ; and I thank you for your friendly counsel, although it is not 
so friendly as I could have wished it. True it is, master Kingston, that 
death is bitter, and life is sweet: but, alas ! consider that the death to 
come is more bitter, and the life to come is more sweet. Therefore, 
for the desire and love I have for the one, and the terror and fear of 
the other, I do not so much regard this death, nor esteem this life, but 
have settled myself, through the strength of God’s Holy Spirit, 
patiently to pass through the torments and extremities of the fire now 
prepared for me, rather than to deny the truth of his word, desiring 
you and others in the meantime, to commend me to God’s mercy in 
your prayers.” 

“ Well, my lord,” said Kingston, “ I perceive there is no remedy; 
and therefore I will take my leave of you : and I am thankful that I 
have known you; for by your good instructions, whereas previously 
I was an evil liver and immoral man, God hath brought me to for¬ 
sake and hate my sins.” 

“ If you have had the grace to do so,” said Hooper, I am thank¬ 
ful for it: and I hope you may continue to live a good life.” After 



these and many other words they took leave of each other; Kingston 
with bitter tears, and Hooper also with tears trickling down his cheeks. 
At his going Hooper told Kingston that all the trials he had borne in 
prison had not so much affected him. 

On the same day, in the afternoon, a blind boy, after long pleading 
with the guard, got leave to be brought into Hooper’s presence. This 
boy had not long before been put in prison at Gloucester, for refusing to 
go to mass. Hooper, after he had examined him concerning his faith, 
and the cans? of his imprisonment, looked at him steadfastly and said, 
“ Ah, poor boy ! God hath taken from thee thy outward sight, for what 
reason he best knoweth: but he hath given thee another sight much 
more precious, for he hath endued thy soul with the eyes of knowledge 
and faith. God give thee grace continually to pray unto him, that thou 
lose not that sight, for then wouldest thou be blind both in body and 

This same night Hooper was given over to the custody of the 
sheriffs of Gloucester. The name of the one was Jenkins, and of the 
other. Bond. These men, with the mayor and aldermen went to 
Hooper’s lodgings, and saluted him, and took him by the hand. 
Hooper then said to them, “ Master mayor, I give most hearty thanks 
to you, and to the rest of your brethren, that you have been willing 
to take me, a prisoner and a condemned man, by the hand; I see by 
this that your old love and friendship towards me continues; and I 
trust also that you have not forgotten those things which, as your 
bishop and pastor appointed by the late king, Edward, I taught you 
in times past. For which true doctrine, because I will not now account 
it falsehood and heresy, as many other men do, I am sent hither to die, 
and am come where I taught it, to confirm it with my blood. And 
now, master sheriffs, my only request to you is that there may be a 
quick fire, and I will go to it as obediently as you yourselves could 
wish. And if you think I act or speak wrongly at that time, hold up 
your finger, and I will cease. For I am not come here as one forced 



or compelled to die—for it is well known I might have had my life, 
and kept my place—but as one ready and willing to give up all for the 
truth. I trust, by God’s grace, to-morrow to die a faithful servant of 
God, and a true obedient subject to the queen.” 

When Hooper had spoken these brave words to the mayor, sheriffs, 
and aldermen, many of them wept and lamented. Nevertheless, the 
two sheriffs were determined to lodge him in the common jail, if the 
guard had not made earnest entreaty for him, declaring how quietly 
and patiently he had behaved himself on the way; adding, that any 
child might keep him safe enough, and that they themselves would 
rather take pains to watch with him, than that he should be sent to 
the common prison. So it was decided that he should remain in 
Robert Ingram’s house; and the sheriffs and the sergeants, and other 
officers appointed, watched that night themselves. Hooper’s wish was, 
that he might go to bed early, saying he had many things to do in the 
morning. So he lay down, at five o’clock, and slept soundly for some 
hours; then arising, he spent the rest of the night in prayer. When 
it was day, he desired that no man should be allowed to come into 
his chamber, but that he might be alone till the hour of execution. 

At nine o’clock Hooper was told to prepare himself, for the time 
was at hand. When he was brought down from his chamber by the 
sheriffs, and saw the weapons carried by the guard, he said, Master 
sheriffs, I am no traitor, neither need you have so many armed men 
to bring me to the place where I must suffer. If ye had desired me, 
I would have gone alone to the stake, and have troubled none of 
you.” Then he looked upon the crowd assembled, to the number of 
seven thousand, and said to those about him, “ Alas! why are all 
these people here ? Perhaps they expect to hear something from me 
now, as they have in times past, but alas! speech is forbidden me. 
However, the cause of my death is well known to them. When I 
was appointed here to be their pastor, I preached to them true and 
sincere doctrine, out of the word of God: and because I will not now 



account the same to be heresy and untruth, this kind of death is pre¬ 
pared for me.” 

Hooper was soon led forward between the two sheriffs, wearing 
a gown of Robert Ingram’s, and having a staff in his hand to steady 
himself with; for the pain of the rheumatism, which he had taken 
from the dampness of his prison, made him lame. Being strictly for¬ 
bidden to speak, he could not be seen once to open his mouth, but 
he would sometimes lift up his eyes towards heaven, and then look 
very cheerfully upon such persons as he knew. It was remarked, that 
never during all the former time that he was among them did he look 
with so cheerful and ruddy a countenance as he did then. When he 
came to the place appointed, where he was to die, he beheld with a 
smile the stake and the preparations made for his burning, which was 
to take place near the great elm tree, over against the college of priests, 
where he used to preach. 

All the space round about, and even the boughs of the trees were 
filled with people; and in the chamber over the college gate stood the 
priests of the college. Then Hooper kneeled down to pray (as he 
was not allowed to speak to the people) and beckoned to one whom 
he knew well to hear the prayer, so as to make report of it when he 
should be dead. After he was some time in prayer, a box was brought 
and laid before him, upon a stool, with what was said to be his pardon 
from the queen, if he would recant. But he cried, “ If you love my 
soul, away with it!” The box then being taken away. Lord Chandos 
said, Seeing there is no remedy, despatch him quickly.” Hooper 
said, “ My lord, I trust your lordship will give me leave to make 
an end of my prayers.” Then Lord Chandos said to Sir Edmund 
Bridges’ son, who was listening to Hooper’s prayer at his request: 

Edmund, take heed that he do nothing else but pray; if he do, tell 
me, and I shall quickly send him to the fire.” While this was going 
on, there stepped near to the place where he was kneeling one or two 
persons to hear his prayer. As soon as the mayor had espied these 



men who were listening to the prayer, they were commanded to 
move away, and were not suffered to hear any more. 

Having ended his prayer Hooper arose and began to prepare him¬ 
self for the stake. He first put off Ingram’s gown which he had 
borrowed, and gave it to the sheriffs, requesting them to see it restored 
to the owner ; and then he took off the rest of his clothes, to his 
doublet and hose. These he wished to wear at the stake, but the 
sheriffs would not permit that, and his doublet, hose, and waistcoat 
were taken off. A pound of gunpowder in a bag was then put under 
each of his arms by the guard. Hooper then asked the people stand¬ 
ing near to repeat the Lord’s Prayer with him, and to pray for him. 

This they did with tears, both while he stood awaiting the fire, 
and during the time of his pains. Now when he went up to the 
stake, three irons were brought to fasten him to it, one for his neck, 
another for his middle, and the third for his legs. But he refused 
them, saying, '‘You have no need thus to trouble yourselves. P'or I 
doubt not but God will give me strength sufficient to bear the fire, 
without bonds. Nevertheless, they brought the hoop of iron for his 
middle, and put it around him ; but when they offered to bind his 
neck and legs with the other hoops of iron, he refused them, saying, 
“ I shall not flinch.” Then being ready, he looked upon the people 
who could see him well, for he was tall, and stood also on a high 
stool, and beheld all round about him; and in every direction there 
was nothing to be seen but weeping and sorrowful people. Then lift¬ 
ing up his eyes and hands to heaven, he prayed to himself By and 
by the man appointed to make the fire came to him, and asked his 
forgiveness. Hooper asked why he should forgive him, saying that 
he knew not any offence that he had committed against him. “ O 
sir,” said the man, “I am he who must make the fire.” Hooper said, 
“ Thou dost not offend me ; God forgive thee thy act, but do thine 
office, I pray thee.” 

And now the order was given to light the fire. But as all the 


fagots were green it was a good while before they would burn. At 
last they blazed up around the form in their midst, but the wind blew 
the flame from him, so that he was only scorched by the fire. A few 
dry fagots were then brought, and a hew fire kindled, but it was a 
long time before it burned strongly, so that Hooper begged them 
to use more despatch to put him out of his misery. After patiently 
enduring these torments for fully three-quarters of an hour, he died 
without a struggle, and hung lifeless from the iron which fastened 
him to the stake. 

Such was the end of one of the foremost men among the reformers 
of that time. Eloquent, charitable, and untiring in his labors to win 
souls to Christ, he met his dreadful death with a heroism as great 
as that of any of the martyrs of ancient times. 



Martyrdom of Dr. Rowland Taylor. 

Rowland Taylor was born at the town of Hadleigh, in the 
county of Suffolk, which was one of the first places in England to 
accept the reformed faith. After coming of age, and being admitted 
to the ministry, he began to preach in his native town, and continued 
to do so during the reign of the young king Edward. Archbishop 
Cranmer, who was a good judge of men, and loved to reward merit, 
took Taylor into his family, and gave into his charge the church of 
Hadleigh. Here he proved himself a most excellent preacher and 
a faithful pastor. He became the friend of every person in his parish, 
and taught many the Scriptures while visiting from house to house. 
He was not only a preacher of sermons, but practised what he 
preached. He was full of pity for the poor, and his charity was 
bounded only by his means. 

In the course of Taylor’s labors he often met with opposition, 
and even with abuse from those who did not agree with him, but he 
bore all patiently, saying that in this world we must go through evil 
as well as good report. 

After some years passed in this way he married a good woman 
and began to keep house. It was said of him that he never sat 
down to dinner with his family, without first inquiring whether there 
was any poor man at his door who needed food. He was also a 
tender, affectionate husband, and brought up his children in the fear 
of God, often saying that to lay a deep foundation is the only way 
to build a good house. 




In this excellent manner, Dr. Taylor, as he was now called, con¬ 
tinued to fill his place at Hadleigh, as long as king Edward lived; 
but no sooner was that monarch dead, than the times took a very 
different aspect. 

In obedience to queen Mary’s proclamation, a Romish priest came 
to Hadleigh to say mass. Two gentlemen of the town named Clarke 
and Foster, with others of the old faith, aided him in rebuilding the 
altar, and it was arranged that mass should be said on Palm Sunday. 
But some who were opposed to this met together in the evening, and 
pulled down the altar; it was, however, built up again, and a watch 
was appointed, lest it should be destroyed a second time. On the 
day following, Clarke and Foster came with an armed guard, bring¬ 
ing with them the priest who was to perform the service of mass. 
The priest was dressed in his robes for the occasion, and the guard 
was ordered to protect him if he should be attacked by the people. 

Dr. Taylor was sitting in his house when he heard the church bell 
begin to ring. He went out to learn the cause, and seeing a crowd 
around the church tried to enter, but was at first unable to open the 
door. At last, getting in by another way he found an armed guard 
drawn up around the chancel and a priest at the altar saying mass. 
Dr. Taylor at once cried out against this, and called the priest an 
idolater, who replied by calling Dr. Taylor a traitor for disobeying the 
queen’s proclamation. Dr. Taylor said he was no traitor, but a minister 
of the gospel, commanded to teach the people ; and then ordered the 
priest to retire, as one who came there to poison the minds of the 
people with false doctrine. Foster, who was the principal supporter 
of the priest, also called Dr. Taylor a traitor, and violently dragged 
him out of the church; although Mrs. Taylor, on her knees, begged 
that he might be released. 

Foster and Clarke next brought accusation of heresy against Dr. 
Taylor to the chancellor Gardiner, who sent a messenger, command¬ 
ing him to appear to answer the charge. 



When Dr. Taylor’s friends heard this, they were much alarmed, as 
justice was not to be expected from the party then in power, and 
they advised the accused minister to go abroad to save his life. But 
this he would not do; saying that it was more honorable to suffer 
for the cause of truth, than to flee from the wrath of wicked men. 
“ God,” said he, “ will either protect me from suffering, or he will enable 
me to bear it.” He said, also, “ That he believed his dying for the 
truth would be of more service to the cause than flying from the per¬ 
secutions of his enemies.” 

When his friends saw that they could not persuade him, they took 
leave of him with tears. He then set out for London, accompanied by 
a servant, named John Hull, who had been a considerable time in his 
family. This faithful servant also advised his master to make his 
escape, but to no purpose. 

Gardiner, when he saw Taylor, according to his usual custom 
assailed him with abuse, calling him “ knave, traitor, heretic,” with 
many other hard names; all of which Taylor heard patiently, and 
at last said to him, 

“ My lord, I am neither traitor nor heretic, but a true subject and 
a faithful Christian man, and am come, according to your command, 
to know what is the reason that your lordship hath sent for me.” 

Then said the bishop, “ Art thou come, thou villain ? How darest 
thou look me in the face for shame ? Knowest thou not who I 
am ?” 

Dr. Taylor then answered the bishop boldly, saying he knew he was 
the persecutor of God’s people. He also put Gardiner in mind of the 
oath he had taken at the beginning of king Edward’s reign, to oppose 
the papal supremacy; but Gardiner answered that the oath had been 
forced from him, so that he was not obliged to abide by it. After some 
further questioning Taylor was committed to prison. 

While in prison. Dr. Taylor spent the greater part of his time in 
prayer, in reading the Scriptures, and in teaching the poor prisoners 



who were confined with him in that dismal place. The prison to which 
Dr. Taylor was sent was called the King’s Bench. Here he met a 
good man named John Bradford, whose companionship cheered him 
much. After Dr. Taylor had been some time in prison, he was 
ordered to appear at Bow church, in Cheapside, to answer to the dean 
concerning his marriage. When he was brought before this officer, he 
defended marriage in such a masterly manner, that the dean did not 
venture, as was his custom in such cases, to pronounce a divorce, but 
only deprived him of his pastorate. He was then sent back to prison, 
and kept there about a year and a half ; after which he was brought 
out to be examined again before the chancellor. 

Being charged with heresy by the chancellor, and the other bishops 
who were present. Dr. Taylor admitted that he was opposed to the 
practices of the church of Rome, and that he would hold to his faith 
until the last, believing it consistent with the doctrines laid down by 
Christ and his apostles. The consequences of such a free and open 
declaration of faith can readily be imagined. The chancellor at 
once pronounced the prisoner guilty of heresy, and sentenced him to 
be first degraded and then burned. He was hurried to a prison in 
London—in Southwark—called the Clink, where he remained till 
night, when he was sent to another prison, called the Compter. After 
he had been there seven days, Bonner, bishop of London, with others, 
came and degraded him from the priesthood. 

The night after Taylor was degraded, his wife, with his son Thomas, 
and John Hull, the serving-man, came to see him; and the keeper 
kindly permitted them to go into his cell and sup with him. There 
was a great difference between the keeper of the bishop’s prison and 
the keeper of the Compter. The bishop’s keepers were always hard 
and cruel, like their master; but the keepers of the royal prisons, for 
the most part, showed as much kindness as they dared to those con¬ 
demned for their religion. 

After supper, the doctor walked two or three times across the room; 



and then, turning to his son, he said, “ My dear son, may God bless 
thee, and give thee his Holy Spirit, to be a true servant of Christ; to 
hear his word, and constantly to stand by the truth all thy life long; 
and, my son, see that thou flee from all sin and wicked living; be 
virtuous ; attend closely to the Bible, and pray to God sincerely. In 
all things that come to pass, see that thou be obedient to thy mother ; 
love her and serve her; be ruled and directed by her now in thy 
youth, and follow her good^ counsel in all things. When thou hast 
become a man, and if God bless thee with means, love and cherish the 
poor people, and make it thy chief aim to be rich in alms. When thy 
mother is old provide for her according to thy abilities, and see that 
she want for nothing; then will God bless thee, and give thee a long 
and prosperous life upon earth.” 

Then turning to his wife, Taylor said, “ My dear wife, I need 
not tell thee to continue steadfast in the faith. I have tried to be 
unto thee a faithful yokefellow; and so hast thou been to me; for 
the which I doubt not, my dear, but God will reward thee. Now the 
time is come that I am to be taken away, and thou wilt be freed from 
the wedlock bond: therefore I will give thee my counsel, what I think 
best for thee. Thou art yet a young and comely woman, and, there¬ 
fore, it may be proper for thee to marry again; for, doubtless, thou 
wilt not be able thyself, alone, to support our dear children, nor be 
out of trouble till thou art married. Therefore, should Providence 
bring to thee some good, honest man, willing to support the poor 
children, marry him, and live in the fear of God.” 

Having said these words, Taylor prayed with his family; and then 
he gave his wife an English prayer-book of the time of king Edward 
VI.; and to his son Thomas he gave a Latin book, containing writings 
of the early Christian fathers, telling of the courage and constancy of 
the ancient martyrs. 

The next day, as early as two o'clock in the morning, the sheriff 
of London, and his officers, came to the prison to get Taylor and take 


him to Hadleigh, to be burned. Now his wife had heard that they 
would take him away, so she watched all night in St. Botolph’s church 
porch, near by, having with her two children, the one named Eliza¬ 
beth, thirteen years of age (who, being an orphan without father or 
mother, Taylor had brought up through charity from three years old), 
and the other named Mary, his own daughter. 

Now, when the sheriff and his company came by St. Botolph’s 
church, Elizabeth cried out, saying, “O my dear father! Mother, 
mother, look 1 there is my father being led away I” Then his wife 
called, Rowland, Rowland, where art thou ?” for it was a very dark 
morning, so that the one could hardly see the other. Taylor answered. 
Dear wife, I am here,” and stopped. The sheriff’s men would have 
forced him to go on; but the sheriff said, “ Stay a little, masters, I pray 
you, and let him speak to his wife and so they stayed. 

Then she came to him, and he took his daughter Mary in his arms ; 
and he, his wife, and Elizabeth kneeled down, and said the Lord’s 
prayer. At this sad sight the sheriff wept apace, and so did others of 
the company. After they had prayed, he rose up and kissed his wife, 
and took her by the hand, and said, “ Farewell, my dear wife; be of 
good comfort, for I am quiet in my conscience. God shall find a 
father for my children.” And then he kissed his daughter Mary, and 
said, “ God bless thee, and make thee his servantand kissing Eliza¬ 
beth, he said, “ God bless thee. I pray you all stand strong and stead¬ 
fast to Christ and his word.” Then his wife said, “ God be with thee, 
dear Rowland; I will meet thee at Hadleigh.” 

And so he was led forth to the inn called the Woolpack, and his 
wife followed him. As soon as they came there, he was put into a 
chamber, where he was kept with four yeomen of the guard and the 
sheriff’s men. As soon as he was come into the chamber, he fell down 
on his knees and prayed. The sheriff then, seeing Taylor’s wife there, 
would not let her speak any more with her husband, but gently desired 
her to go to his house and take it as her own, and promised her that 




her husband should lack nothing, and sent two officers to conduct her 
there. But she wished rather to go to her mother’s; so the officers led 
her there, and charged her mother to keep her till they came again. 

Dr. Taylor remained at the Woolpack inn until eleven in the fore¬ 
noon, when the sheriff of Essex came to receive him, and they set out 
together on horseback. As they came out of the gate of the inn, 
John Hull, the faithful servant, was there waiting, having with him 
Taylor’s son Thomas; John lifted up the boy that he might see his 
father, and then set him on the horse before him. The prisoner, taking 
off his hat, said, Good people, this is my son.” He then lifted up 
his eyes towards heaven, and prayed for the boy, laying his hand upon 
his head, and blessing him. After this he gave him back to John 
Hull, whom he shook by the hand, and said, ‘'Thou hast been the 
faithfulest servant a man ever had.” 

When they came to Brentwood, the prisoner was greeted by his 
friends who saw him pass by; so they put on him a close hood, having 
two holes for his eyes, and one for his mouth, to breathe at. They did 
this so that no man should know him or speak to him. Yet, all the 
way, Taylor was as joyful as if he had been going to take possession 
of an estate instead of to die a dreadful death. At Chelmsford they 
were met by the sheriff of Suffolk, who was to take him into that 
county to be executed. At supper, the sheriff of Essex very earnestly 
persuaded the prisoner to return to the Romish religion, and said, 
“ Good master doctor, we are right sorry for you: God has given you 
great learning and wisdom, wherefore you have been in great favor in 
times past with the rulers of this realm. Besides this, you are a man 
of goodly person, in your best strength, and by nature likely to live 
many years, and without doubt you should in time to come be in as 
good reputation as ever you were, or rather better. For you are well 
beloved of all men, as well for your virtues as for your learning, and 
it were a great pity you should cast yourself away willingly, and so 
come to such a painful and shameful death. You would do much 



better to recant your opinions, and return to the church of Rome, 
acknowledge the pope to be the supreme head of the church, and 
reconcile yourself to him. You may do well yet, if you will; and 
doubtless may find favor at the queen’s hands.” But Taylor firmly 
refused to listen to their entreaties, so that the sheriff and his company 
were amazed at his constancy. 

The next day they went on to Hadleigh. When they had come 
near to the town there waited, in the road, a poor man with five small 
children ; who, when he saw Dr. Taylor, held up his hands, and cried 
out, “ O dear friend and good pastor, Dr. Taylor, God help thee, as 
thou hast many a time helped me and my poor children!” The 
sheriff and others that led Taylor were astonished at this; and the 
sheriff rebuked the poor man for crying out so. But soon the 
streets of Hadleigh were filled on both sides of the way with men 
and women, who waited to see their good pastor; and when they 
beheld him led to death, they cried one to another, “ Ah! there goes 
our good friend, who so faithfully hath taught us, so fatherly hath 
cared for us, and so kindly hath governed us. Good Lord, strengthen 
him, and comfort him!” 

At last, coming to Aldham common, the place where Taylor was to 
suffer, he asked, “ What place is this, and why are so many people 
gathered here ?” It was answered, “ It is Aldham common, the place 
where you must burn; and the people are come to look upon you.” 
Taylor replied, “Thanks to God, I am near home!” Then he alighted 
from his horse, and with both his hands rent the hood, which had been 
put on him to prevent his being known, from his head. He then stood 
a little apart from the guards, and looked about him. 

When the people saw his familiar face and long white beard, they 
burst out weeping, and cried, “ God save thee, good Dr. Taylor I” 
Then he would have spoken to the people, but as soon as he opened 
his mouth to speak, one of the guards thrust the end of a staff into 

his mouth, and prevented his uttering a word. 




Then Taylor asked of the sheriff permission to speak; but the 
sheriff refused, and bade him remember his promise to the council. 

“ Well/’ replied Taylor, “ a promise must be kept.” What promise 
he referred to is unknown; but the common saying was, that after 
he and others were condemned, the council sent for them, and 
threatened they would cut their tongues out of their heads, unless 
they would promise that at their burning they would keep silence, 
and not speak to the people. Wherefore they, desiring to have the 
use of their tongues for the little time they might live, promised 
that they would remain silent when brought to the stake. 

When Taylor saw that he could not speak, he sat down, and see¬ 
ing a man, long at enmity with him, named Soyce, he called him, 
and said, “ Soyce, I pray thee come and pull off my boots, and take 
them for your labor. Thou hast long looked for them, now take 
them.” Then he stood up and took off his clothes to his shirt, and 
gave them away. This being done, he said with a loud voice, “ Good 
people, I have taught you nothing but God’s holy word, and those 
lessons that I have taken out of God’s blessed book, the Bible; and 
I am come hither this day to confirm it with my blood.” No sooner 
had he spoken these words, than Homes, yeoman of the guard, who 
had used the prisoner very cruelly all the way, gave him a great 
stroke upon the head with a staff, and said, ” Is that the keeping 
of thy promise, thou heretic ?” Seeing they would not permit him 
to speak, Taylor kneeled down and prayed, and a poor woman that 
was among the people came close and prayed with him; but they 
thrust her away, and threatened to tread her down with horses. In 
spite of this, she would not go away, but remained and prayed with 
him. When he had prayed, he went to the stake, and set himself 
into a pitch-barrel, which they had prepared for him to stand in, and 
so stood with his back upright against the stake, with his hands folded 
together, and his eyes toward heaven. 

The fagots were then brought, and the fire kindled. One man 



standing near cruelly cast a piece of wood out of the fire at him, 
which struck him upon the head, and broke his face, so that the 
blood ran down. Then said Taylor, “ O friend, I have hurt enough; 
what needed that?” 

Sir John Shelton standing by, as Taylor was speaking and saying 
the fifty-first psalm, “ Have mercy upon us,” struck him on the lips; 
“Ye knave,” said he, “speak in Latin, or I will make thee.” Taylor, 
holding up both his hands, called upon God, and said, “ Merciful 
Father of heaven, for Jesus sake, receive my soul into thy hands!” 
So he stood still in the fire, without either crying or moving, with 
his hands folded together, till at last, Soyce, with a halberd, struck 
him on the head, and he fell down into the fire. 

William Hunter. 

This young man, who was but nineteen years of age at the time 
of his trial, was the son of honest and religious parents, who had 
brought him up in the reformed faith, and apprenticed him to one 
Thomas Taylor, a silk-weaver, in Coleman street, London. 

When queen Mary began her reign, orders were issued to the 
priests of every parish to summon all their people to attend mass 
the Easter following. Young Hunter refused to obey the summons, 
and was threatened with trial before the bishop, to answer for his dis¬ 
obedience. In consequence of this, his master, afraid of being blamed, 
told his young apprentice that he must leave his house, at least for a 
time; upon which Hunter left his place and went to his father at Brent¬ 
wood, in Essex. 

While there he went one day into the chapel, and seeing the Bible 
lying on the desk, he opened it, and began to read. Being seen by an 
officer of the bishop’s court, he was taken to task for opening the 
sacred volume. The officer said, “Why meddlest thou with the 
Bible ? understandest thou what thou readest ? canst thou teach the 
Scriptures?” To this Hunter replied, “I do not presume to do it; 



but finding the Bible here, I read it for my comfort and improve¬ 

The officer at once informed a priest that Hunter had taken to 
reading the Bible. The priest sent for him, and said, “ Sirrah, who 
gave thee leave to read the Bible, and explain it ?” He answered him 
as he had done the officer; and on the priest’s saying it became him 
not to meddle with the Scriptures, he frankly said he intended to read 
them as long as he lived. The priest then accused him of being a 
heretic and threatened to complain of him to the bishop. 

A neighboring justice, named Brown, having heard that young 
Hunter was accused of heresy, sent for his father to inquire into the 
particulars. The old man told him, that his son had left him, and 
that he knew not where he had gone. The justice not believing what 
he said, threatened to commit him to prison, unless he would imme¬ 
diately cause his son to be brought before him. To this the old man 
replied with tears in his eyes, “ Would you have me seek out my own 
son to be burned?” 

He was, however, compelled to go in search of William. Meeting 
him by accident, the son asked his father if he were seeking him; to 
which the old man answered, with tears, that it was by order of the 
justice, who threatened to put him in prison. The son, to secure his 
father from any danger on his account, said he was ready to accom¬ 
pany him home, which he at once did. 

The next day young Hunter was arrested by the constable of the 
parish, who put him in the stocks for twenty-four hours, and then took 
him before the justice. The justice called for a Bible, turned to the 
sixth chapter of St. John, and asked him the meaning of it, as it re¬ 
lated to the sacrament. 

Hunter explained it, and persisted in his denial of the real presence 
in the eucharist. The j'ustice then charged him with heresy, and wrote 
an account of his conduct to the bishop of London. In consequence 
of this, young Hunter was summoned to appear at the consistory 



court held at St. Paul’s. He was present at the time appointed, and 
was severely reproved for having fallen from the true faith. To this 
he boldly answered, that he had not fallen from the true faith, but 
believed and confessed it with all his heart. 

After Hunter had been brought several times before the bishop, 
with no other result, sentence was passed on him. It was that he 
should be imprisoned in Newgate for a time, and from there taken to 
Brentwood; “ where,'' said the bishop, thou shalt be burned." 

Hunter was then carried back to Newgate, and in- a few days 
removed to Brentwood, where he was confined at an inn till the day 
of his execution. During this time he was visited by many of his 
neighbors and acquaintances. His father and mother came to him, 
and prayed God that he might continue to the end in the good way 
which he had begun ; and his mother said to him, that she was glad 
she had such a child, willing to lose his life for Christ’s sake. Then 
Hunter said to his mother, “ For the little pain which I shall suffer, 
which is but short, Christ has promised me a crown of joy; are you 
not glad of that, mother?" With that his mother kneeled down on 
her knees, saying, I pray God will strengthen my son to the end." 

On the morning of the 27th of March, 1555, as soon as it was day, 
the sheriff began to prepare for the burning of William Hunter. The 
sheriff’s son, who was Hunter’s friend, came and took him by the 
hand, -saying, '' William, be not afraid of these men who are here 
present with swords and spears, to guard you to the place where you 
shall be burned." William answered, I am not afraid; for I have 
that in my heart which shall bear me up until the end.” At this the 
sheriff’s son could speak no more to him for weeping. 

Then Hunter plucked up his gown, and went forward cheerfully, 
the sheriff’s servant taking one arm, and his brother the other. 
While on his way he met his father, in tears, who spoke to him, and 
said, '' God be with thee, son William:’’ and William said, “ God be 
with you, good father, and be of good comfort; for I hope we shall 



meet soon again, where we shall be happy.” His father said, “ I hope 
so, William.” 

So William went to the place where the stake stood, but the 
sheriff’s men were not ready. Then he knelt down upon a fagot 
and read the fifty-first psalm, till he came to these words, “ The 
sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, 
O God, thou wilt not despise.” 

Then one of the sheriff’s officers, named Tyrill, interrupted him, 
saying, Thou liest; thou readest false; for the words are ‘ an humble 
spirit’ ” But William said, “ My translation says, a contrite heart.” 
Master Tyrill replied, “Your translation is false. You translate books 
to suit yourselves, like heretics.” “ Well,” said William, “ there is 
no great difference in these words.” Then said the sheriff, “ Here is 
a letter from the queen. If thou wilt recant, thou shalt live: if not, 
thou shalt be burned.” “ No,” answered William ; “ I will not recant, 
God willing.” He then rose and went to the stake, and stood up be¬ 
side it. Then came one Richard Ponde, a bailiff, and made fast the 
chain about him. 

Then one of the sheriff’s men, named Brown, said, “ There is not 
wood enough here to burn a leg of him.” At this Hunter cried out, 
“Make haste and despatch me quickly; and then, turning to the 
people who crowded around he said, “ Pray for me while I yet live, 
good people.” 

“No,” said Brown, “pray for thee? I would no more pray for 
thee than I would pray for a dog.” Hunter answered, “ Now that you 
have me at the stake, I hope it be not laid to your charge at the last 
day. I forgive you.” Then said Brown, “ I ask no forgiveness of 
thee.” “ Well,” said William, “ If God forgive you, my forgiveness 
is of little worth.” 

As he stood among the fagots a priest offered him a book, but 
Hunter cried out, “Away, thou false prophet! beware of him, good 
people, and do not listen to his teaching I” 



Hunter’s brother stood near him, and encouraged him to make a 
good end. As soon as the fire was kindled, he said, “Be of good 
cheer, Whlliam to which the man at the stake replied, “ I fear neither 
torture nor death; Lord, receive my spirit!” These were his last 
words; the fire burned rapidly, and the martyr was soon consumed, 
yielding up his life with patience and courage. 

Trial and Execution of William Pigot, Stephen Knight, and 
Rev. John Lawrence. 

These three men having been informed against by the spies of 
Bonner and Gardiner, were summoned to appear before bishop Bonner 
at his court in London, where they were examined. They answered 
the questions put to them without fear, and said they were firmly re¬ 
solved to hold to their faith. They were severely reproved by the 
bishop, warned to turn from their heretical opinions, and for that time 
dismissed. A few days after, they were again examined but made the 
same answers as before. In consequence of this the bishop again 
warned them to give up their heresies, and not to throw away their lives 
by obstinately continuing disobedient to the law. But the three were 
too well convinced of the truth of the gospel to be moved from their 
faith. They told the bishop that they would not recant, nor could they 
change the opinions which they held. Bonner then began an argu¬ 
ment with Lawrence, the clergyman, and asked him of what order he 
was; he answered, that he had been admitted to priest’s orders eigh¬ 
teen years before, and that he had been formerly a Black friar. “But 
I am one no longer,^’ said Lawrence. 

A few days after their examination, Lawrence, Pigot, and Knight 
were again summoned before the bishop, who, with his usual persist¬ 
ence urged them to recant, to return to the faith of Rome, and not be 
the wilful cause of their own destruction. But no arguments could 
persuade them to change their faith ; they all declared they would 
abide by their opinions, because they were founded on the word of 


God. After this bold declaration bishop Bonner proceeded to pass 
sentence on the three prisoners as irreclaimable heretics. He then 
degraded Lawrence with the usual ceremonies; after which they 
were all delivered to the sheriff, who put them in Newgate prison. 

On the 28th of March, 1555, being the day appointed for the execu¬ 
tion of Pigot and Knight, they were removed early in the morning to 
the places where they were to be burned, the former at Braintree and 
the latter at Malden, in Essex. When Knight arrived at the stake, he 
kneeled down and prayed. It is related that both these martyrs, Pigot 
and Knight, suffered the terrible death to which they had been con¬ 
demned with amazing fortitude and resignation, proving to all who 
saw the dreadful sight, that, “ as is the day ” of the sincere believer, 
so likewise will be his strength.” 

On the day following, Rev. John Lawrence was burned at Colches¬ 
ter. He was carried to the stake in a chair, being unable to walk, from 
the sores made by the irons with which his legs had been fastened, and 
the weakness of his body from want of proper food while in prison. 
The chair was fastened to the stake, and he sat quietly in it for some 
time, praying to God to enable him to bear the fiery trial. At length 
the fagots were lighted, and in the midst of the flames he died in the 
steadfast hope of an eternal life in heaven. 

Martyrdom of Dr. Robert Farrar, Bishop of St. David’s. 

The spies of the persecuting bishops had, for some time, employed 
themselves in collecting evidence against this worthy man; who, not 
only in the former reign, but also after the crowning of queen Mary, 
had been particularly active in spreading the reformed doctrines. In¬ 
formation of this having been given to the bishop of Winchester, then 
lord chancellor. Dr. Farrar and several others were summoned to ap¬ 
pear before him. 

After listening to the charges against the prisoners, the bishop said, 
addressing himself particularly to Dr. Farrar, “ It is well known to you 



that the queen and parliament have restored religion to what it was at 
the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII.; yet you have put yourself 
in debt to her gracious majesty by disobeying her commands.'’ Undis¬ 
turbed by this speech of the lord chancellor, Dr. Farrar answered, that 
in regard to the debt, he never expected to pay it. ‘‘Your lordship 
will remember,” said he, “that upon two former occasions I have 
solemnly sworn never to acknowledge the pope’s authority over the 
realm of England, and therefore it is needless to repeat what I have 
already declared.” 

After a long debate, Gardiner sternly asked Farrar if he would 
recant, and acknowledge the pope’s supremacy. To this he firmly 
replied that he was astonished that his lordship should suppose for 
an instant that he would recede from an oath he had made—an oath 
he could not break consistently with his duty to God, and his love 
for his native country. Upon this Gardiner broke out into abuse, 
as was his custom when enraged. He called Dr. Farrar a “ froward 
knave,” and told him he should know his fate in a few days. To this 
Farrar firmly replied, he was ever ready to obey the bishop’s sum¬ 
mons, but that he would never prove false to a cause which he had 
solemnly sworn to uphold, at his orders, or those of any man living. 

Dr. Farrar was sent to Newgate prison, where he was a short time 
confined; after which he was taken into Wales, to receive his sentence 
of condemnation. On his arrival at Caermarthen he was delivered to the 
sheriff of the county, who took him before Henry Morgan, who had 
just been appointed bishop of St. David’s, by whom he was committed 
to the custody of the keeper of Caermarthen jail. A few days after, he 
was sent for by bishop Morgan, who urged him to recant, assuring 
him of the queen’s favor as well as an office of dignity in the church. 
But Farrar would not listen to any of his promises. Morgan then 
asked him the two following questions: “ Whether he believed the 
marriage of priests was allowed by the laws of the holy church ? and 
whether in the blessed sacrament of the altar, after the words of 



consecration duly pronounced by the priest, the bread and wine were 
miraculously changed into the very body and blood of Christ.” Dr. 
Farrar refused to answer these questions, unless the bishop showed 
a warrant authorizing him to ask them. He was then sent back to 

After other disputes with bishop Morgan, Farrar appealed from 
him, as an incompetent judge, to cardinal Pole. Notwithstanding 
this, sentence was immediately pronounced against him as a here¬ 
tic, and he was delivered over to the civil authorities, after being 
first degraded by Morgan. 

No time was now lost in. bringing the matter to an end. The 
prisoner was guilty of upholding the doctrines of the Reformation, 
and had denied the papal jurisdiction in England. He was therefore 
condemned to be burned in the market-place of Caermarthen, and the 
execution took place, amidst a great crowd of spectators. 

The following circumstance shows the wonderful courage and reso¬ 
lution possessed by this martyr, and how determined he was to hold 
to his principles to the last. A friend visited Dr. Farrar a few days 
before his execution, and grieved over the cruel fate that awaited him. 
Farrar told his visitor not to regard him as the victim of ill-considered 
zeal; and said that if he once saw him flinch from the pains of burn¬ 
ing, he might then put no faith in the truth of his belief, but look 
upon it as merely mistaken enthusiasm. 

Wonderful to relate, Farrar resolutely fulfilled his promise, and 
amazed his friend, who came to condole his fate. There he stood 
motionless in the midst of the flames, holding out both his hands, 
until at last one of the officers struck him on the head with a staff, 
and put an end to his life. 

Sufferings of Rawlins White, a Poor Fisherman of Wales. 

During the reign of queen Mary, so eager was the search for 
victims, that not only the leaders of the Protestant cause suffered. 



but many of the poorest and humblest in the land were brought 
before the bishops' court and sentenced to be burned. 

Rawlins White was a poor fisherman who pursued his humble 
calling upon the stormy sea which breaks upon the coast of Wales. 
He had listened many times to the simple teaching of the travelling 
preachers, who carried the truths of the gospel to the plainer people 
of England during the reign of Edward VI. He had thus obtained 
a fair knowledge of the Scriptures, and became himself a preacher to 
his rough companions. 

For a number of years White continued in this way, until the 
death of king Edward VI., and the crowning of queen Mary, brought 
about a change in the religion of England. After this he used to 
meet secretly with his friends to pray and read the Bible. But spies 
soon found out the little congregation, and White, as their leader, 
was arrested on the charge of heresy, taken before the bishop of 
Llandafif for a hearing, and afterward to prison. 

On the day appointed for White's examination, the bishop and 
his court assembled in the chapel. The prisoner was charged with 
not only being a heretic himself, but a spreader of heresy among 
others. The bishop, addressing the prisoner, told him that he had 
frequently been notified to give over his heretical practices, but had 
always turned a deaf ear to the warning. The bishop then said that 
out of kindness they had once more sent for him, to endeavor by mild 
means to bring him to a sense of his errors. He also assured him 
that if he would repent of the crimes he had committed against God 
and the laws of his sovereign, they would show him mercy; but that 
if, in spite of the royal clemency, he persisted in his heresies, they were 
determined to punish him with the utmost rigor of the law. 

White showed no signs of fear at this stern threat of the bishop, 
and told his lordship that he was a Christian, and held no doctrines 
contrary to Scripture; if he did, he begged to be convinced of the 
same out of the Bible itself, which, he said, should always be his guide. 



After much argument the bishop assured the prisoner that if he would 
not recant he must be condemned as a heretic. To this White replied 
that he might proceed as he thought proper, but that he could not 
justly condemn him as a heretic, as he did not maintain any opinion 
contrary to the word of God. The bishop then asked all the people 
present to join with him and pray that it would please God to turn the 
heretic’s heart, and bring him to a knowledge of the true religion. 

Accordingly, they all engaged in prayer; this being finished, the 
bishop asked the prisoner how he found himself disposed in his mind. 
‘‘The very same as before,” replied he. 

Then the bishop, finding that White could not be influenced to 
change his opinions, read the sentence, after which the condemned 
man was carried to Cardiff, and shut up in a place called Cockmarel, 
a damp and filthy prison, where he lay till the warrant for his exe¬ 
cution came from London. 

Upon the day set for his burning. White was brought out of prison, 
guarded by a company of soldiers. When he saw all these armed 
men, “ Alas!” said he, “ what meaneth this ? Soldiers are not 
needed. By God’s grace I will not run away. With all my heart 
I give Him thanks that I am considered worthy to bear all this for 
His name’s sake.” 

When White had come to where his poor wife and children stood 
weeping, the sudden sight of them so pierced his heart that the tears 
trickled down his face. But soon after, as if to reprove this weakness, 
he struck his breast with his hand, saying these words, “Ah, flesh, 
movest thou me so ! wouldst thou prevail ? Well, I tell thee, do what 
thou canst, thou shalt not have the victory!” By this time he had 
come near to the place of his sacrifice, and there found a stake ready 
set up, with some wood to make the fire. Seeing this, he went 
forward very boldly to the stake, and fell down upon his knees, and 
rising again, said these words, “ Earth unto earth, and dust unto dust; 
thou art my mother, and unto thee I shall return.” Then he went 



cheerfully, and set his back close to the stake. When he had been 
there awhile, he said to a friend who stood near (the one who wrote 
down the account of this scene), ‘‘ I feel a great fighting between 
the flesh and the spirit, and the flesh would very fain have his way ; 
therefore I pray you, if you see me tempted to save myself from the 
fire, hold your finger up to me, and I trust I shall remember myself” 

As White was thus standing with his back close to the stake, a 
smith came with a great chain of iron. As the smith put the chain 
about him, and was making it fast. White said to him, I pray you, 
good friend, nail the chain fast; for it may be that the flesh will strive 
mightily, but may God in His great mercy give me strength and 
patience to bear the fire.” Now, when the smith had fastened the 
prisoner to the stake, the officers began to lay on more wood, with 
a little straw and reeds. In this work the poor man at the stake 
seemed no less interested than the rest; for as far as he could stretch 
out his hands, he would pluck the straw and reeds, and arrange them 
about him in places most convenient for his speedy despatch. He 
did this with so cheerful a countenance, that all the people were 

When all things were ready, and there was nothing to do but light 
the fire, there was a stand put up directly opposite the stake, in front 
of White. On this platform stepped a priest, who began to address 
the people, who were there in great numbers, it being market-day. 
As the priest went on with his sermon, and spoke of many things 
about the authority of the church. White listened with much interest, 
so that he seemed to forget that death was so near. At last, the priest 
came to the sacrament of the altar, and then he began to denounce 
White’s opinions, and quoted Scripture to support his doctrine. Hear¬ 
ing this, the man at the stake suddenly started up, and beckoned with 
his hands to the people, calling out, “ Come hither, good people, come 
hither, and hear not the false prophet’s teaching!” 

Then some that stood by cried out, “ Light fire, light fire I” which 



being done, the straw and reeds flared up with a great and sudden flame. 
In this the poor man held out his hands, crying with a loud voice, “ O 
Lord, receive my soul! O Lord, receive my spirit!” until he could 
not open his mouth. At last, the fire burned so hotly, that he was 
consumed and his body fell over the chain into the fire. Thus died 
Rawlins White for the truth as he believed it. 

Rev. George Marsh. 

George Marsh was well brought up by his parents, who were 
worthy people of the reformed faith. When about twenty-five years 
of age he married a young woman of the county, and rented a 
farm, at which employment he spent a number of years. His wife 
dying, he broke up his home and went to the university of Cam¬ 
bridge, where he studied, and afterward entered the ministry. For 
a while he was curate to Lawrence Saunders; in which place he 
was well liked. He preached with great earnestness and succeeded 
in making many converts. 

But Marsh soon aroused the enmity of the church party; he was 
arrested and kept in prison, by the bishop of Chester, four months, 
and during all that time was not permitted to see his friends. His 
jailer was even ordered to take notice of whatever persons came to 
ask for him, and to give their names to the bishop. 

After having been taken from his prison and examined several 
times. Marsh was brought, for the last time, into the cathedral 
church of Chester, to be tried before the mayor, the chancellor, 
and principal people of the city. The chancellor read aloud the 
answers Marsh had given during his former examinations, and asked 
the prisoner whether he still held to the same opinions. To this 
Marsh answered, '‘Yea.” Then said the bishop, “There is no dis¬ 
puting with an heretic.” And taking a writing out of his bosom, 
he began to read the sentence of condemnation. 

When the bishop had read about half the sentence, the chan- 



cellor said, “ I pray you, my lord, wait, wait! for if you read any 
further, it will be too late to recall it.” So the bishop ceased read¬ 
ing for a while, and then the priests and the people tried once more 
to persuade the prisoner to save himself from the fire, by changing 
his belief They urged him to kneel down and pray, and said they 
would pray for him. So they knelt down, and he prayed with 
them. Then the bishop asked Marsh again, whether he would not 
accept the queen’s mercy in time. He answered, he loved her 
grace as faithfully as any man ; but yet he dared not deny Christ, 
lose his everlasting mercy, and suffer everlasting death. 

Then the bishop took the writing again in his hands, and read about 
five or six lines more of the sentence. Once more the chancellor 
called out to the bishop, and said, '' Stop once again, my lord! for 
if that next word is spoken, all is past; no repentence will then save 
him.” So the bishop, laying down the paper, said, “ I am willing to 
stop, if it will avail anything.” Then to Marsh; “ How sayest thou ? 
wilt thou recant?” Many of the priests and poor people also urged 
the prisoner to do so, and called to God for grace; and pulled him by 
the sleeve, and bade him recant and save his life. Marsh answered, 
“ I desire to live as much as any of you, if in so doing I should not 
deny my faith.” Then the bishop read out his sentence to the end, 
and said, “Now there is no more mercy for thee;” and after this 
the bishop delivered him to the sheriffs. 

Marsh was put in a dungeon or dark cell, and no one was allowed 
to speak to him; but some of his friends would come in the evening, 
and through a hole in the wall call to him, and ask him how he did. 
He would answer them most cheerfully, that he was well, and even 
thankful to God for appointing him to suffer for the truth. 

When the day came on which Marsh was to be burned, the sheriff 
brought him, with irons on his feet, to the place of execution. Some 
of the bystanders offered him money, and expected to see him carry 
a little purse in his hand, as it was the custom for felons going to exe- 



ciition to get money to giv^e a priest to say masses for them after their 
death, by which they might, as they thought, be saved. But Marsh 
said he had no need of money; but asked that some good man would 
take the money that was offered him, and give it to the prisoners or 
poor people. So he went all the way to his death with his book in 
his hand, looking upon it, and many of the people said, “ This man 
does not go to his death like a criminal or one who deserves to die.'’ 

When Marsh had come to the place of execution without the city, 
one Cawdrey, the deputy-chamberlain of Chester, showed him a writ¬ 
ing under a great seal, saying that it was a pardon for him if he would 
recant. The prisoner answered, that he would gladly be pardoned, 
but would not receive it upon that condition. After that he began to 
speak to the people, telling the cause of his death, and would have 
begged them to hold to their faith. But one of the sheriffs said. 
We must have no sermonizing now.” So Marsh answered, Mas¬ 
ter, I cry you mercyand then kneeling down made his prayers. 

Arising from his knees Marsh took off his clothes to his shirt, and 
quietly submitted to being chained to the post. Above his head they 
fastened a cask filled with pitch. Then they lighted the fire, but it 
was so badly made that he suffered greatly, but endured it patiently 
to the end, stretching out his arms at the last^ and quietly yielding 
up his life. 

Thomas Hawkes. 

Thomas Hawkes came of a respectable family of Essex. He was 
carefully reared and sent to serve as a page at the court of king 
Edward VI. As he grew in years he was noted for his comeliness 
of person and his gentle manners. Following the fashion of the 
court, when he became a man he entered the service of the lord 
of Oxford, where he remained for some time, being liked by all the 

But when Edward died, religion was changed, and those who held 
to the reformed faith began to be in danger. Hawkes was one of these. 




SO, rather than change his faith, he decided to leave his place and go 
back to his own home. He had married while at Oxford, and soon 
after coming home a son was born to him. As he did not want to 
have the child baptized by a Romish priest he put off the baptism for 
three weeks. His enemies hearing of this, had him brought before the 
magistrate charged with being unsound in religion. After a hearing 
he was sent up to London and put into the hands of Bonner, bishop 
of London. 

When Hawkes was brought before the bishop, he was asked why 
he kept the child unbaptized so long. To this the prisoner replied 
that he believed he was doing better for the child than by taking it 
to a priest. After a good deal of argument, the bishop asked him 
if he would have his child baptized according to the form set forth in 
the service-book of Edward VI. To this Hawkes replied, that it was 
the very thing he desired from his soul. This question, however, was 
a mere device to find out Hawkes’ real faith. So the bishop sent him 
a prisoner to the Gate-house, in Westminster, commanding the keeper 
to confine him closely, and not to permit any person whatever to speak 
with him. 

During Hawkes’ imprisonment, various plans were laid to make 
him recant, such as arguments, reading, taking him to hear sermons, 
and the like; but all proved useless, his constant answer to all who 
spoke to him on that subject, being, I am no changeling.” At last 
the bishop summoned him, with several others, to appear publicly in 
the consistoiy court at St. Paul’s, where the charges against him were 
read. They then urged him to recant, that they might not be obliged 
to pass the awful sentence of death upon him. To this he firmly re¬ 
plied, that he would rather suffer death than renounce his faith in the 
gospel. The bishop then read the sentence of condemnation against 
him, and five others at the same time; after which he was sent back 
to prison. 

While in prison, waiting till he should be taken to the stake. 




Hawkes was allowed to see his friends, many of whom called on 
him. Some of them asked him if it would be possible for him 
to give them some token to show that a man could suffer the fire 
without despairing. Hawkes promised, “ by the help of God, to show 
them that the most terrible torments could be endured in the glorious 
cause of Christ and his gospel, the comforts of which were able to 
lift the believing soul above all the injuries men could inflict.’' Ac¬ 
cordingly, it was agreed between them, that if the pains of burning 
were bearable, the martyr should lift up his hands toward heaven, be¬ 
fore he died, as a signal to his friends. 

Soon after, Thomas Hawkes was led to the place of execution. 
After being fastened to the stake with a chain, he addressed the 
crowd, and especially Lord Rich, pointing out to him the sin and 
dreadful consequences of shedding innocent blood. 

After Hawkes had made a prayer, the flames were kindled around 
him, and soon blazed with such fierceness that his speech was taken 
away by their violence; his frame shrunk and the people thought 
him dead—when suddenly, the martyr, mindful of the promise he 
had made to his friends, held his hands high above his head, and, 
as if in an ecstasy of joy, clapped them thrice together. 

The awe-struck multitude stood speechless at this unlooked-for 
signal from one whom they thought already dead; but his friends, 
remembering the promise he had made them in prison, were thus con¬ 
vinced of the wonderful power of faith to support believers through 
every trial. 



IMartyrdom of Margaret Polley. 

So bitter was the feeling against those of the reformed faith, during 
the reign of queen Mary, that even women did not escape the fire. 
IMargaret Polley, of Rochester, was brought before Maurice, bishop 
of Rochester, charged with holding heretical opinions. After asking 
her many questions and finding that she held firmly to her belief, the 
haughty bishop called her an “ obstinate hereticand “ silly woman,” 
telling her she knew not what she said, and that it was the duty of 
every Christian to believe as the mother church taught. The bishop 
then asked the following questions : “ Will you, Margaret Polley, recant 
the error which you maintain, be reconciled to the church, and do 
penance for your sins ?” To this the prisoner replied, cannot believe 
otherwise than I have spoken.” Upon hearing this reply, the bishop 
pronounced sentence of condemnation against her; after which she 
was carried back to prison, where she remained for upwards of a 

Margaret Polley was a woman in the prime of life, well learned in 
the Scriptures, and much beloved by all who knew her. During her 
imprisonment she was often urged to recant, but refused all offers 
of life on such terms. When the day appointed for her execution had 
come, she was led from the prison at Rochester to Tunbridge, where 
she was burned, thus giving up her life for her faith. 

Trial and Execution of Robert Smith. 

Robert Smith was a teacher at Eton college, and became converted 

to the reformed faith by hearing the sermons preached there. After 




this he spent much of his time studying the Scriptures and was 
respected by all who knew him, for his virtuous life and Christian 

When Mary was made queen, Smith was deprived of his post in 
the college, and soon after sent up prisoner to the bishop of London, 
by whom he was committed to Newgate, after having been examined 
several times, by the bishop at his palace. Being asked by Bonner his 
opinion concerning confession to the priests, he declared, “ he had 
never been confessed since he arrived at years of discretion, because 
he never thought it needful, nor was it commanded of God to confess 
his faults to any man.” 

Bonner, bishop of London, then asked Smith his opinion concerning 
other ceremonies of the church, all of which he answered frankly, 
according to his belief After this examination was ended the prisoner 
was sent back to prison. Some days afterward, he was brought before 
the bishops’ court again, when he made the same answers as he had 
before. He was therefore condemned as a heretic, and delivered to 
the sheriff. 

After the charges against him had been read. Smith appealed to the 
mayor, sheriff, and others. Turning to the lord mayor he said, “ I beg 
of you, my lord, that I may here before your court answer to these 
charges that are laid against me; and if anything that I have said, or 
will say, can be proved to be heresy, I shall with all my heart forsake 
the same, and cleave to the truth, and all this audience shall be witness 
to it.” 

Lord Mayor. But, Smith, surely thou canst not deny what thou 
hast already testified to. 

Smith. But, my lord, I deny that which the bishop hath charged 
against me, because he hath both added to and taken away from my 
testimony; but what I have actually spoken, I will never deny. 

Bishop Bonner. By my word, master Smith, you shall preach at 
the stake. 



Smith. Well sworn, my lord; you keep a good watch on your 

Bishop Bonner. Well, master heretic, I am no saint. 

Smith. No, my lord, nor yet a good bishop. For a bishop, saith 
St. Paul, should be faultless, and a vessel dedicated unto God; and are 
you not ashamed to sit in judgment on the innocent? 

Bishop Bonner. Well, master prisoner, I suppose you are faultless. 

Smith {appealing to the mayor). My lord mayor, I beg you that I 
may have justice. I am here to-day an innocent man, wrongfully 
accused of heresy. And I require you, if you will be just, to let me 
have no more favor at your hands than the apostle had at the hands 
of Festus and Agrippa, who being heathens and infidels, gave him 
leave to speak for himself This require I at your hands, who being 
a Christian judge, I hope will not deny me that right which the heathen 
have admitted: if you do, then shall all this audience speak shame 
of your act. 

Upon hearing this the lord mayor was put out of countenance, 
and said nothing, but the bishop cried out again to the prisoner, 
“ that he should preach at the stake,” and called out to the sheriff, 
‘'Away with him!” 

Then the sentence of death was begun to be read, the first words 
of it being,—“ In the name of God.” Hearing this. Smith cried out, 
“You begin in a wrong name.” Then he asked the bishop where he 
learned in Scripture to give sentence of death against any man for his 
conscience sake. To this Bonner made no answer, but went on read¬ 
ing. Then Smith turned to the lord mayor, and said, “ Is it not enough 
for you, my lord mayor, and you the sheriffs, that you have left the 
straight way, but you must condemn Christ’s followers causeless ?” 

Bishop Bonner. Well, Smith, you must confess that I offered you a 
fair chance to save yourself, though now, I suppose, you will call me 
bloody bishop, and say I seek thy life. 

Smith. Well, my lord, if neither I nor any of this congregation 


do call you so, yet shall these stones cry it out, rather than it shall be 

Bishop Bonner. Away with him, away with him ! 

Smith then addressed himself to the spectators in the following 
manner: “ Ye have seen and heard, my friends, the great injustice done 
me this day, and ye are all witness, that we have referred the justice of 
our cause to the Scriptures, which appeal not being admitted, we are 
condemned unheard.’' Then addressing the lord mayor, he said, 
“You, my lord, have exercised your authority unjustly, and will not 
attend to the cry of the poor, but I commit my cause to God, who 
judgeth aright, at whose awful bar both you and I must stand equal, 
and where sentence will be passed without partiality, and according to 
to the eternal laws of truth.” 

After his condemnation. Smith was carried back to Newgate prison, 
where he was closely confined till the 8th of August, 1555, the day 
appointed for his execution. On the morning of that day he was 
taken under a strong guard to Uxbridge, and there led to the stake. 
He bore his awful punishment with the most amazing fortitude, in 
full faith that he was giving up a brief life for one that was immortal. 
It is related of him, “ that being burned and blackened with the fire, 
all that stood by thought him dead, when suddenly he straightened 
himself upright in the fire, raising his arms to heaven, and then, bend¬ 
ing down again, ended his mortal life.” 

Robert Smith had received a very liberal education, and during 
the time of his imprisonment, he wrote a great number of letters and 
tracts. He had also a good turn for poetry. 

An Account of the Lives, Trials, and Executions of Hugh 
Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, and Nicholas Ridley, 
Bishop of London. 

Hugh Latimer was born at Thirkeston, in Leicestershire, England, 
about the year 1475. parents provided him with a good education, 



sending him to Cambridge university, where he became acquainted 
with the most influenlial and distinguished men among the reformers. 
Becoming convinced of the truth of their doctrine, he threw himself 
into the cause with all the enthusiasm of his nature, and soon proved 
his sincerity, as well as his courage, by writing a letter to king Henry 
VI 11 . protesting against a law that had been passed, forbidding the 
free use of the Bible in England. 

When Cromwell came into power he appointed Latimer to a church 
in Wiltshire; at which place he took up his residence, and performed 
the duties of his pastorate satisfactorily to all except the Romanists. 
They continually sought an opportunity to annoy him, for his active 
support of the reformed doctrine, and at last they succeeded in having 
him summoned to appear before the bishops’ court, at London, for 

Latimer set out for London in the depth of winter, and while suf¬ 
fering from an illness, which made it difficult for him to travel. On 
his arrival at London, he found a court of bishops ready to receive 
him. But instead of being examined about his sermons, as he had ex¬ 
pected to be, a paper was put into his hands, which he was ordered to 
sign, declaring his belief in all the forms of worship and all the prac¬ 
tices of the church of Rome. 

Latimer, after reading the paper refused to sign it, when the arch¬ 
bishop, with a frown, ordered him to consider what he did. “ We in¬ 
tend not, Latimer,” said he, “ to be hard upon you; therefore we dis¬ 
miss you for the present; take a copy of the articles; examine them 
carefully, and God grant that at our next meeting we may find you 
in better mind.” 

At the next, and several succeeding meetings, the same scene was 
acted over again. Latimer remained firm^ and the bishops continued 
to persuade him. Three times every week they regularly sent for him, 
with a view either to draw something from him by questions, or to pre¬ 
vail upon him at length to sign the paper. At last, tired out with this 



usage, when Latimer was again summoned, he would not go, but sent 
a letter to the archbishop, in which he told him, “ That the treatment 
I have lately met with has thrown me into a fever which has made me 
too ill to attend this day.” He also remonstrated with his grace for 
keeping him so long from his duty, and said that it seemed to him 
most unaccountable, that they, who never preached themselves, should 
thus hinder others from preaching. 

The bishops, however, continued to call upon Latimer to appear 
before them, when their plans for disgracing him were suddenly put 
an end to by a very unexpected event. Latimer was made bishop 
of Worcester, by the favor of Anne Boleyn, then the privileged wife 
of Henry, to whom he had, most probably, been recommended by 
Thomas Cromwell. 

Latimer had now a larger field than ever in which to spread the 
principles of the Reformation, and he labored earnestly to fulfil the 
duties of his high office. Historians of those times speak of him as 
being remarkably thorough and conscientious; and tell us that in 
controlling the affairs of his diocese he was uncommonly active 
and resolute. In visiting, he was frequent and observant; in ordain¬ 
ing, strict and wary; and in preaching, eloquent and persuasive. 
Attending the parliament and convocation gave him a further oppor¬ 
tunity to promote the work of reformation, whereon his heart was 
so much set. Many alterations were made in the laws concerning 
religion, and the Bible was to be translated into English and recom¬ 
mended to general use. Latimer, well satified with the prospects, 
went to his diocese, having made no longer stay in London than 
was absolutely necessary. He had no talents, and pretended to have 
none, for state affairs. 

Three years later, Latimer was again invited to attend parliament. 
Now Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, was his great enemy; and, 
choosing a time when the bishops were with the king, Gardiner kneeled 
down and solemnly accused Latimer of preaching against certain 



customs he had witnessed at eourt. Being asked by Henry, with some 
sternness, what he had to say to this eharge, Latimer, far from denying 
the aecusation, justified it; and turning to the king, with that courage 
which a good conscience inspires, said, “ I never thought myself worthy, 
nor did I ever ask to be a preaeher before your graee; but I was sum¬ 
moned to court against my will, and am ready, if you mislike my 
sermons, to give place to my betters; for I grant, there may be many 
better fitted for the place than I am. And if it be your grace’s pleas¬ 
ure to have them for preachers, I shall be content to bear their books 
after them. But if your grace choose me for a preacher, I would desire 
you to give me leave to free my conscience, and to frame my doctrine 
according to my audience. I would be a very dolt, indeed, to preach 
the same sermons at court as I do in the country.” 

The frankness of Latimer’s answer baffled his accuser; the severity 
of the king’s countenance changed into a gracious smile, and the bishop 
was dismissed with that obliging freedom which Henry never showed 
but to those whom he liked. 

However, as Latimer could not give his vote for the act of the six 
articles, drawn up by the duke of Norfolk, he thought it wrong to 
hold any offlee in a church where they must be obeyed; so there¬ 
fore he resigned his bishopric, and retired into the country, where 
he purposed to live a quiet life. 

But Latimer had not long enjoyed this peaceful serenity, when an 
unhappy accident carried him again into the stormy atmosphere of the 
court. It happened that, while walking in his grounds he was hurt by 
the fall of a tree, and the injury was so dangerous, that he was obliged 
to seek better advice than could be given by the country physicians. He 
therefore went to London, where he had the misfortune to see the ruin 
of his friend and patron Lord Thomas Cromwell; a loss which he was 
soon made sensible of For Gardiner’s spies quickly found him out 
in his concealment; and a trumped-up charge of having spoken 
against the six articles being brought against him, he was sent to the 



Tower, where, without any judicial examination, he suffered, through 
one pretence and another, a close confinement for the remaining six 
years of Henry's reign. 

At Henry’s death the Protestant interest revived under his son 
Edward, and Latimer was set at liberty. An address was made to the 
protector, to restore him to his bishopric. The protector was very 
willing to gratify the parliament, and offered Latimer his bishopric 
again. He refused it, however, and chose rather to accept an invitation 
from his friend, archbishop Cranmer, to take up his residence with him 
at Lambeth. Here his chief employment was to hear the complaints 
and redress the wrongs of poor people; and his character, for services 
of this kind, was so universally known, that unfortunate persons from 
every part of England appealed to him. In these employments he 
spent more than two years, during which time he assisted the arch¬ 
bishop in preparing the homilies for the use of preachers, which were 
authorized in the reign of king Edward. Latimer was also appointed 
to preach the Lent sermons before the young king. 

Latimer was thus employed during the remainder of Edward’s 
reign, and continued the same course, for a short time, in the beginning 
of the next; but when queen Mary was settled on the throne all 
preaching was forbidden except by licensed priests, known to belong 
to the church party. The bishop of Winchester, who was now prime 
minister, having sought to arrest Latimer from the first, sent a message 
to bring him before the council. He had notice of this some hours 
before the messenger’s arrival, but he did not try to escape. The 
messenger found him ready for his journey, at which he expressed 
surprise. Latimer told him, that he was as ready to go with him to 
London, and answer for his faith, as he ever had been to take any 
journey in his life. He said he doubted not that God, who had per¬ 
mitted him to preach the word before two princes, would enable him 
to do the same before a third. 

The messenger then told Latimer that he had no orders to 



seize his person, and giving him a letter, went away. Latimer opened 
the letter, and found it a summons from the council. He resolved 
to obey it, and set out immediately. As he passed through Smith- 
field, he said prophetically, “ This place of burning hath long 
groaned for me.” The next morning he waited upon the council, was 
bitterly reproached for the course he had taken in the past, and sent 
to the Tower, from which prison, after some little time, he was 
removed to Oxford. 

Nicholas Ridley. 

Nicholas Ridley, bishop of London, was arrested and put in prison 
at about the same time as Latimer. As these two distinguished 
prisoners were afterward brought before the court, and tried together, 
a short history of Ridley will now be given, after which the story of 
both Latimer and Ridley will be taken up again. 

Nicholas Ridley, bishop of London, received the first part of his 
education at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. From there he was sent to the 
university of Cambridge, where his unusual abilities secured for him 
the place of master of Pembroke hall. After being a master for some 
years, he left Cambridge, and travelled into various parts of Europe 
for the purpose of completing his education. Upon his return to 
England, he was made chaplain to Henry VIII. and bishop of 
Rochester; later, he was made bishop of London by Edward VI. 

Ridley had been brought up a member of the church of Rome, but 
was converted to the reformed faith, and became an active worker in 
the ranks of the reformers. 

In an account of Ridley’s life, written about this time, the follow¬ 
ing personal description is given of him : In person he was comely 
and well proportioned. It was his disposition to take all things in 
good part, bearing no malice nor rancor from his heart, but soon for¬ 
getting all injuries and offences done against him. He was very kind 
to his relatives, and yet not indulging them any more than right would 



require. He was much given to prayer and contemplation; for duly 
every morning, as soon as he was dressed, he went to his bed-chamber, 
and there upon his knees prayed for half an hour. This being done, 
immediately he went to his study (if no other business came to inter¬ 
rupt him) where he remained till ten o’clock. At dinner he talked 
little, unless occasion demanded. The dinner done, which was not 
very long, he used to sit an hour or thereabouts talking, or playing at 
chess. He then returned to his study, where he would stay, except 
visitors or business abroad prevented him, until five o’clock at night, 
when he would come to prayers as in the forenoon. These being 
finished, he went to supper; and after supper he would sometimes 
play again at chess, or return to his study, where he would remain 
until about eleven o’clock at night, which was his usual hour for going 
to bed. In his life he was godly and virtuous, and in his house peace 
and contentment reigned.” 

But when Mary came to the throne, Ridley shared the same fate as 
many others who preached the reformed doctrine. Being accused of 
heresy, he was first removed from his bishopric, then sent prisoner to 
the Tower of London, and afterwards to prison at Oxford; from there 
he was committed to the custody of Mr. Irish, mayor of that city, in 
whose house he remained till the day of his execution. 

Trial of Ridley and Latimer. 

Ridley and Latimer were finally brought before the divinity school 
at Oxford for examination, on the 30th of September, 1555. Ridley 
was heard first, and at the beginning of his trial was severely censured 
by the bishop of Lincoln, because when he heard the words “ the 
cardinal’s grace,” and “ the pope’s holiness ” read out in the indictment, 
he kept on his cap. The bishop said: ‘‘ Master Ridley, if you will not 
be uncovered, out of respect to the pope, and the cardinal his legate, 
by whose authority this court is held, your cap shall be pulled off 
your head.” 



After the charges had been read, the bishop of Lincoln made a 
formal appeal, in which he begged Ridley to return to the holy mother 
church, and pointed out to him its antiquity, and universal authority, 
and the powers of the pope, the immediate successor of St. Peter. 
After he had finished Ridley answered him, and boldly contradicted all 
his statements. After some further argument it was decided by the 
court to ask the prisoner the usual set of questions prepared for those 
suspected of heresy. This was done, and his answers not being satis¬ 
factory to the court, Ridley was given into the custody of the mayor 
of Oxford and ordered to appear the next day in St. Mary’s church, to 
give his final answers. 

Latimer was now told to stand forward. The bishop of Lincoln 
then appealed to him, as he had done to Ridley, to return to the church 
of Rome, and the same questions were asked him as had been prepared 
for his fellow prisoner. Latimer’s replies were no more satisfactory to 
the court than Ridley’s had been, so he was also sent back to prison 
in the custody of the sheriff, and ordered to appear the next day in 
St. Mary’s church. 

On the following day the court met to continue the trial. Ridley 
was the first to be called. The bishop of Lincoln repeated to him his 
answers made the day before, and assured him that he had full liberty 
to make whatever alterations in them he pleased, and that he would be 
permitted to deliver the same to the court in writing. After some 
debate, Ridley took out a paper, and began to read; but the bishop 
interrupted him, and ordered an attendant to take the writing from him. 
Ridley asked permission to read on, declaring the contents were only 
his answers to the questions that had been asked him before; but the 
bishop and others, having privately examined the paper, would not 
permit him to read it in open court. When the list of questions was 
again used upon Ridley, he referred the court to his paper for his 
answers to them. 

At last the bishop, finding Ridley immovable in the stand he had 



taken, addressed him thus: Dr. Ridley, it is with the utmost concern 
that I see your stubbornness and obstinacy in persisting in your errors 
and heresies; but unless you recant, I must proceed to the last part 
of my duty, though very much against my will and desire.” Ridley 
made no reply, so the sentence of condemnation was pronounced; 
after which he was taken back to his prison. 

Latimer Sentenced. 

It was now Latimer’s turn to be brought before the court for 
a final hearing. Standing in the place just quitted by his friend Ridley, 
he listened unmoved to the warning words of the bishop of Lincoln. 

Latimer was told that although the court had already heard his re¬ 
plies to certain questions, yet it would, mercifully, give him time to 
think over the same, and to make what alterations he desired. The 
questions were then read to him a second time, but Latimer changed 
not a single word of his former answers. Being once again urged to 
recant, he refused, declaring, that he never would deny God’s truth. 
Then sentence of condemnation was pronounced against him, and he 
was sent to rejoin his friend Ridley in prison. 

Burning of Ridley and Latimer. 

On the evening before these two martyrs were to mingle their ashes 
in the same fire, Ridley sat at supper in the room of his keeper. It 
is told of him that “ he was as cheerful as ever he had been, and 
invited the keeper and his wife, as well as all who were at the table 
with him, to his ^ marriage ’ on the morrow, for thus he spoke of his 
burning.” He said that he hoped his sister would be there, and asked 
his brother, who was sitting at the table, whether he thought she could 
find it in her heart to come. He answered, ‘‘Yes, I dare say, with all 
her heart.” To which Ridley said, “ I am glad of it.” 

At this talk the keeper’s wife wept, but Ridley comforted her, say¬ 
ing, “ O my friend, quiet yourself, though my breakfast on the morrow 



shall be somewhat sharp and painful, yet I am sure my supper will be 
more pleasant and sweec.” When they arose from the table, his 
brother offered to stay all night with him. But he said, “ No, no, that 
you shall not. For I intend to go to bed, and to sleep as quietly to¬ 
night as ever I did.” On this, his brother departed, telling him to 
be of good cheer, and to take his cross quietly, for the reward would 
surely be great. 

The place of execution was on the north side of the town of 
Oxford, near the ditch over against Baliol college; the stake had been 
set up there the day before. For fear of an attempt to rescue the 
prisoners by the people. Lord Williams, and some of the principal 
citizens of Oxford, were commanded by the queen’s letters to attend, 
sufficiently armed to resist any attack. When everything was in readi¬ 
ness, the martyrs were led out by the mayor and bailiffs. 

Ridley wore a furred black gown, such as he was accustomed to 
wear as a bishop, with a tippet of velvet, furred likewise, about his 
neck, and a velvet cap upon his head. He walked in a pair of slip¬ 
pers to the stake, between the mayor and an alderman. 

After Ridley came Latimer in a shabby woollen coat, much frayed 
and worn, with a cap and a handkerchief on his head. He wore, also, 
a new long shroud down to his feet. This sight stirred men’s hearts 
to mourn; as they thought on the one hand of the honor these two 
men had once had, and on the other, of the dreadful end to which 
they were now coming. 

As they passed by the prison, Ridley looked up at the window of 
the cell in which Cranmer lay, hoping to see him at the window, and 
to speak to him. But at that time Cranmer was busy with friar Soto 
and his fellows, disputing together, so that he could not see him. 
Then Ridley looking back, saw Latimer coming after. To whom he 
called out and said, ‘‘Oh, are ye there?” “Yea,” said Latimer, “I 
am coming as fast as I can.” At length they came to the stake, the 

one after the other. Ridley first came near it, and earnestly holding 



up both his hands, looked toward heaven. Soon after, seeing Latimer 
coming with a wondrous cheerful look, he ran to him, and embraced 
him, and they that stood near heard him say, “ Be of good cheer, 
brother Latimer, for God will either lessen the fury of the flames, 
or else strengthen us to bear them.'’ 

Ridley then went to the stake, and kneeling down prayed; and 
behind him kneeled Latimer. Afterward they arose, and talked 
together a little while, till they who were appointed to see the 
executions, found places where they were shaded from the sun. 
Then Dr. Smith began to preach a sermon to them upon this text 
of St. Paul, in the thirteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corin¬ 
thians : “ Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, 
it profiteth me nothing.” The preacher argued that the holiness of 
the cause, and not the manner of death, brings salvation to man. 
After speaking thus for some time, he ended his discourse with an 
appeal to the prisoners to repent, and come home again to the church 
and thus save their lives and souls. 

Then said Ridley to Latimer, “ Will you answer the sermon, or 
shall I ?” Latimer said, “ Begin you first, I pray you.” “ I will,” said 

Then Ridley and Latimer kneeled down upon their knees facing 
Lord Williams, the vice-chancellor of Oxford, and other commissioners 
appointed to attend the execution, who sat upon a bench near them. 
Ridley said, “ I beseech you, my lord, that I may speak but two or 
three words.” 

Lord Williams bent his head to the mayor and vice-chancellor, to 
ask, as it appeared, whether he might grant Ridley permission to speak. 
Then the bailiffs and Dr. Marshall, the vice-chancellor, ran hastily 
toward Ridley, and with their hands stopped his mouth, and said, 
” Master Ridley, if you will change your erroneous opinions, and 
recant the same, you shall not only have liberty to speak, but your 
life as well.” “Not otherwise?” said Ridley. “No,” replied Dr. 


Marshall ; “ it is certain that if you will not do so, there is no remedy 
but you must die.” 

“ Well,” said Ridley, “ so long as the breath is in my body I will 
never deny the Lord and his known truth ; God’s will be done to me.” 
And with that he rose up, and said with a loud voice, ” I commit our 
cause to Almighty God, who shall impartially judge all.” Latimer 
said, “Well, there is nothing hid but that it shall be made manifest;” 
and added, that he could answer Smith well enough, if he might be 
allowed to speak. But no more time was allowed them. They were 
told to make ready for the fire, and without further words began to 
obey. Ridley took his gown and tippet, and gave it to his brother- 
in-law, Shipside, who, all the time of his imprisonment, although he 
was not allowed to enter the prison, remained at Oxford at his own 
expense, to provide Ridley with the things necessary to his comfort. 
Some articles of his apparel he gave to others ; the bailiffs took 
some; besides which, he gave away a few trifles to gentlemen stand¬ 
ing by, several of whom wept when they received them. To Sir 
Henry Lea he gave a new coin, and to some of Lord Williams’ gen¬ 
tlemen such other small things as he had about him. Some of the 
bystanders even plucked the buckles from his garters, and happy was 
he who could get anything from him, which would serve as a token 
of remembrance. 

Latimer had nothing to give the bystanders, but quietly permitted 
his keeper to pull off his hose, and his other apparel, which was very 
simple. And now being stripped to his shroud, he seemed as comely 
a person as one could desire to see; for although in his clothing he 
had appeared a withered and crooked old man, he now stood quite 
upright. Then Ridley, standing as yet in his belt, said to his brother, 
“ It were best for me to wear my belt still.” “ No,” said his brother, 
“ it will put you to more pain ; and the belt will do a poor man good.” 
Ridley said, “ So be it, then,” and unlaced himself Then, clad only 
in his shirt, he stood by the stake, and held up his hand, and said, “ I 



beseech thee, Lord, take mercy upon this realm of England, and deliver 
the land from all her enemies/' 

Then the smith took a chain of iron, and fastened it about the 
waists of both Ridley and Latimer. As he was knocking in a staple, 
Ridley took the chain in his hand, and shook it, and looking aside to 
the smith, said, “ Good fellow, knock it in hard, for the flesh suffers 
not without a struggle.” Then his brother brought some gunpowder 
in a bag, and would have tied it about his neck, but Ridley asked what 
it was. His brother said, “ gunpowder.” Then said Ridley, “ I will 
take it. And have you any,” said he, “for my brother Latimer?” 
“Yea, indeed, that I have,” said his brother. “Then give this to 
him,” said Ridley, “ lest the other come too late.” So his brother 
went, and carried the gunpowder to Latimer. 

Then Ridley spoke to Lord Williams, saying, “ My lord, I must be 
a suitor in the behalf of several worthy men, and especially in the cause 
of my poor sister. I have made application to the queen in their 
behalf I beseech your lordship to be a mediator to her grace for 
them. There is nothing in all the world that troubles my conscience, 
I praise God, this only excepted. While I was bishop of London, I 
gave some poor men places under me. Now I hear that the new 
bishop will not give the places to them, but, contrary to all law and 
conscience, has taken from them their livings, and will not suffer them 
to enjoy them. I beseech you, my lord, be a mediator for them; you 
shall do a good deed, and God will reward you.” 

The only response to this appeal was a lighted torch, which had 
been made ready, and was now brought and laid down at Ridley’s feet. 
Then said Latimer: “ Be of good courage, brother Ridley, and play 
the man: for we shall this day light such a candle by God’s 
GRACE IN England, as i trust shall never be put out.” 

The torch was then placed among the fagots. When Ridley saw the 
fire flaming up towards him, he cried with a loud voice, “ Lord, into 
thy hands I commend my spirit; Lord, receive my spirit!” Latimer 




prayed as earnestly on the other side, saying, “ O Father of heaven, 
receive my soul!” The fire burned fiercest beside Latimer and he 
received the flame as if embracing it; and after he had stroked his 
face with his hands, he sank down, and soon died, as it appeared, 
with very little pain. His great age, for he was eighty years old, 
doubtless caused death to come quickly. But Ridley lingered longer 
because of the badness of the fire on his side, which only burned 
underneath, being kept down by the quantity of wood they had piled 
around him. When he saw this he begged them to let the fire come 
to him. His brother-in-law hearing him, and being anxious to shorten 
his sufferings, heaped more fagots upon him, but this only served to 
keep the fire under. He therefore lingered in great pain until one of 
the guard, with his pike-^taff, pulled away some of the fagots. When 
Ridley saw the fire flame up, he leaned himself to that side; and when 
the flame touched the gunpowder, he was seen to stir no more, but 
fell down in the fire, on the other side, at Latimer’s feet. 

Hundreds who beheld the dreadful sight were moved to tears. In 
the words of the historian, “ There was none that had not clean banished 
all humanity and mercy, who did not lament to behold the fury of the 
fire rage upon their bodies. There were signs of sorrow on every side. 
Some took it grievously to witness their deaths, whose lives they held 
full dear. Some pitied their persons, who thought their souls had no 
need of pity. Ridley’s brother moved the compassion of many by his 
great grief But those, especially, who remembered the places of 
honor they had held, the favor they had enjoyed with their princes, 
and the learning they were masters of, could not refrain from sorrow 
and tears, to see so great dignity, so many godly virtues, and the study 
of so many years, put into the fire, and consumed in a moment.” 

The Trial and Martyrdom of Rev. John Philpot. 

John Philpot came of a good family of Hampshire, England. 
His father had the honor of being knighted, and as he possessed a 



fair estate he was able to give his son the advantages of an excellent 
education. He sent him to Oxford university, where he studied civil 
law and other branches of learning; acquiring at the same time a 
good knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew languages. 

After finishing his college course, young John Philpot travelled 
abroad. While in Italy, going from Venice to Padua, he fell into a 
discussion with a Franciscan friar travelling in the same coach, and 
narrowly escaped arrest for heresy. Returning to England during 
the reign of Edward VL, Philpot was appointed archdeacon of Win¬ 
chester, under Dr. Poinet, who then succeeded Gardiner in that bishop¬ 
ric. He held this office during the reign of king Edward, to the entire 
satisfaction of those who came under his care. When the king died, 
and Mary, his sister, succeeded to the throne, she called a convocation 
of the church officers. Philpot was present, and with a few others of 
the clergy boldly upheld the cause of the Reformation against all the 
threats and persuasions of the queen’s ministers. 

For having taken this bold stand, Philpot was called to account, 
and during the next three months was compelled to appear no less 
than seven times before bishop Bonner, and other commissioners, for 
examination. Bonner at last becoming weary of a conflict with so 
able an adversary, determined after the seventh examination to end 
the matter. Accordingly, on the 13th of December, 1555, he sum¬ 
moned Philpot to appear before him at St. Paul’s, for the last time. 
Fixing his stern gaze upon the prisoner, the persecuting bishop ad¬ 
dressed him thus: “You are accused, Philpot, of mortal offences, but 
it is not even yet too late to save your life; for if you will return you 
shall be mercifully and gladly received, charitably used, and shall 
enjoy all the favor I can show you. But I tell you truly, if you con¬ 
tinue obstinate I have the authority to condemn you. I therefore now 
demand of you whether you can show any cause why I should not 
sentence you to the fire ?’’ 

In answer to this harsh question Philpot replied, “ I can say that 



these twenty years I have been in the faith of the true church, but 
that is not your church, into which you would force me to come. 
Truly, I have many times sworn, both in the reign of king Henry 
VIIL and of Edward his son, to hold out against the usurped power 
of the pope of Rome, and this oath I think I am bound in my con¬ 
science to keep. But if you, or any of this court, can, by Scripture 
show that my oath was unlawful, and that I am bound by God’s word 
to come into your church, I will gladly yield unto you, otherwise 
not.” Upon hearing this firm reply, bishop Bonner cried out to take 
the prisoner back to his dungeon, and vowed he would pronounce 
sentence of death upon him within three days. 

Accordingly, on Monday, December i6th^ Philpot was again 
brought before Bonner, there being also present the bishops of Bath, 
Worcester, and Litchfield. Finding the accused still of the same mind, 
Bonner began to read the sentence. When he was about half way 
through, and had given no sign of stopping, the bishop of Bath plucked 
him by the sleeve, and said, “ My lord, my lord, give him one more 
chance for his life; ask him again if he refuses to recant.” Bonner 
replied, “ Oh, let him alone for that!” and read on, without a break 
until he had finished the sentence of death. 

Philpot was then taken by the sheriff’s men, and led through the 
bishop’s house into Paternoster-row. His faithful serving-man was 
waiting for him, and when he saw his kind employer dragged along 
by the men, he cried : “ O master, master, where are they taking thee ?” 
“Quiet thyself,” said Philpot; “come with me, if thou wilt.” 

When they had come to Newgate prison the sheriff’s officers deliv¬ 
ered their prisoner to the keeper. His man, who had followed after, 
tried to go in also. Then one of the officers said to him, “ Hence, 
fellow! what wouldst thou have ?” “ I would speak with my master,” 

said the man. Philpot then turned about, and said to the man, “ Come 
to-morrow and thou shalt speak with me.” But when the under 
keeper understood he was his servant, he gave him leave to go in. So 




Philpot and his man were put into a little chamber on the right hand, 
and remained there a short time. Alexander, the chief keeper, then 
came in, and said tauntingly, “ Ah, hast thou not done well to bring 
thyself hither ?” “ I am content,” said Philpot, for it is God’s will. 

I hope you will show me some favor, for you and I have been long 
acquainted.” If you will recant,” said the keeper, I will show you 
all the favors I can.” “ Nay,” said Philpot, “ I will never recant that 
which I have spoken, whilst I have my life, for it is most certain truth, 
and in witness thereof I will shed my blood.” Then Alexander said. 
That is the way with the whole pack of you heretics.” He at once 
ordered him to be put upon a block, and as many irons fastened to 
his legs as he could carry. 

While they were fastening the irons on Philpot’s legs, the clerk of 
the prison whispered in the keeper’s ear that the prisoner had been 
seen giving some money to his servant for safe keeping; so Alexander 
called the man, and said, “ What money hath thy master given thee ?” 
He answered, “My master hath given me none.” “None?” said 
Alexander, “ hath he given thee none ? That I will soon know, for I 
will search thee.” “ Do with me as you like, and search me all you 
can,” said the servant; “ he hath given me only a token or two to send 
to his friends, and to his brothers and sisters.” 

“ So,” said Alexander to Philpot, “ thou art then a supporter of 
heretics; thy man hath money to carry to some of thy friends, but he 
shall be known well enough.” “ Nay,” said Philpot, “ I send but a few 
trifles; there he is, let him make answer to it. But, good Alexander, 
be so much my friend, that these irons may be taken off.” “ Well,” 
said Alexander, “ give me my fees, and I will take them off; if not, 
thou shalt wear them still.” 

Then Philpot asked the keeper, “And what is your fee?” He said, 
“Four pounds.” “Ah,” said Philpot, “I have not that much; I am 
but a poor man, and I have been long in prison.” “What wilt thou 
give me, then?” said Alexander. “Sir,” said he, “I will give thee 

jonx PIIILP07\ 


twenty shillings, and that I shall have to send my man for. If that 
will not satisfy }'ou I will give thee my gown in pledge; I shall have 
little need of it, for the time I shall be with you will be short, for the 
bishop told me I should soon be despatched.” “ What is that to me ?” 
said Alexander. “You shall wear your irons while you are here.” 

With that he left him, ordering him to be put in a dungeon. Then 
one of the keepers took him on his back, and carried him down. 
Philpot said to his servant, “ Go to the sheriff, and tell him how I am 
being abused, and ask him to be good to me.” So his servant went, 
and took another person with him. When they came to the sheriff, 
and told him how Philpot was being treated in Newgate, he took his 
ring from off his finger, and gave it to the person that came with 
Philpot’s man, and bade him go to Alexander the keeper, and com¬ 
mand him to handle the prisoner more gently, and to take off his 
irons; also to give back to his man what they had taken from him. 

When the men returned to the prison they went to Alexander, and 
delivered their message. The keeper took the ring, and said, “Ah, I 
see Master Sheriff is a favorer of Philpot, and all such heretics as he 
is; therefore to-morrow I will tell of this to his betters.” Neverthe¬ 
less he went to Philpot where he lay, and took off his irons, and gave 
back to him the things he had taken from his servant. 

A few days after, while Philpot was at supper, there came a mes¬ 
senger from the sheriffs, to tell him to make ready, for the next day 
he was to be burned at the stake. Philpot answered, “ I am ready ; 
God grant me strength, and a joyful resurrection.” So in the morn¬ 
ing the sheriffs came about eight o’clock, and calling for him, he cheer¬ 
fully came down to them. His faithful man was also there to greet 
him, and said, “ O dear master, farewell!” His master answered, 
“Farewell, my faithful friend!” And so he went with the sheriffs to 
the place of execution ; and when he came near Smithfield, the way was 
muddy, and two officers took him up to bear him to the stake. Then 
he laughed, and said, “ What, will you make me a prince ? I am con- 



tent to go to my journey’s end on foot.” When they had come to the 
place, and had set him on his feet again, he kneeled down and said, “ I 
will now keep my vows in thee, O Smithfield!” 

On coming to the stake, Philpot looked upon it, and then re¬ 
peated a psalm, and prayed. And when he had made an end of his 
prayers, they bound him to the stake, and lighted the fire, amid the 
flames of which the martyr soon resigned his soul unto Him who 
gave it. 



History of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Cranmer was born in the year 1489 in a village called Arselacton, 
in Nottinghamshire, England. His family was an ancient one, dating 
back to a Norman ancestor who came over with William the Con¬ 
queror. Cranmer’s father died in early life, leaving his son an orphan 
while yet a child. 

When fourteen years old the boy was sent by his mother to 
Cambridge university to be educated. After he had completed his 
course there his abilities were so well thought of that he was chosen 
a fellow, or resident professor, of the college, and held this position 
until his marriage, in 1521, when he Iqst it, as only single men could 
be fellows of the university. His wife dying, however, one year after 
their marriage, he was re-elected to his old position. The following 
year he was made a doctor of divinity, and being learned in theology, 
was chosen divinity lecturer of his college, and appointed by the 
university as one of the examiners of young men studying for the 
ministry. While filling this office Cranmer specially encouraged the 
study of the Bible, then greatly neglected, as being indispensable for 
those who expected to teach divine truth. 

A terrible pestilence known as the plague, which was common in 
England and many parts of Europe at this time, broke out at Cam¬ 
bridge soon after Cranmer had received this last appointment; so to 
escape it he moved with some of his pupils to a place called Waltham 
Abbey. Here he met Gardiner and Fox, one the secretary and the 

other the almoner of king Henry VIII. As the king’s desire to obtain 




a divorce from Catherine, his queen, was common talk at this time, 
Gardiner and Fox asked Cranmer what had best be done to help the 
king attain his object, and Cranmer shrewdly advised that application 
be made to the English and foreign universities for their opinions as 
to the legality of a divorce. This advice was so well thought of that 
Cranmer was presented to the king, who questioned him further on 
the subject, and was so much pleased with his views that he requested 
him to write out his opinions in full. Afterward, the king appointed 
Cranmer his chaplain, and admitted him to that favor which he con¬ 
tinued to enjoy throughout the king’s life. 

A few years later, Cranmer was sent by Henry, with a distinguished 
embassy, to argue on the subject of the divorce, at Paris, Rome, and 
other foreign cities. At Rome Cranmer delivered a book which he 
had written in favor of the divorce, to the pope, and offered to justify 
it in a public debate. But after several attempts no one could be 
found who cared to discuss the subject with him. 

While Cranmer was absent abroad, Warham, then archbishop of 
Canterbury, died, and the king determined to make Cranmer his suc¬ 
cessor; so he commanded him to return at once to England. He 

did so, and was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury, on March 30, 
1533. He received at his consecration the customary bulls from the 
pope, but he refused to take the usual oaths of allegiance to him, for 
he had mingled much, during his travels, with the reformers of Ger¬ 
many, and had read Luther’s books. 

The first service archbishop Cranmer—always ready to obey his 
patron—did for Henry, was to grant the king’s divorce from queen 
Catherine ; the second was to marry him to Anne Boleyn. As the 

new queen favored the Reformation, the reformed party for a time 

gained some headway; but the tragic end, on the scaffold, of the un¬ 
fortunate Anne, and the uncertain temper of the king, caused them 
great uneasiness. The enemies of the reformers soon saw their 
advantage, and awoke to renewed activity. Cranmer was attacked 


by Gardiner, who accused him in parliament, and several lords of 
the privy council petitioned the king to commit the archbishop to 
the Tower. The king, however, suspected their motives and after 
reading the petition put it aside. 

A few days after Henry had received the petition against Cranmer 
he ordered his barge to be made ready, and embarked for a short ex¬ 
cursion on the river Thames. When the rowers had brought the king 
as far as Lambeth bridge, he looked out and saw Cranmer standing by 
the bridge; for the archbishop had heard the trumpets of the musicians 
on the royal barge, and had come to salute the king. 

When Henry saw Cranmer, he commanded the oarsmen to row 
toward the shore, and so came near to the bridge. ''Ah, my 
chaplain!” said the king to the archbishop, " come into the barge 
with me.” Cranmer begged that he would let him take his own 
barge and wait upon his majesty. "No,” said the king, "you must 
come into my barge, for I want to talk with you.” When the king 
and the archbishop were seated together in the barge, the king said, 
" I have news out of Kent for you, my lord.” The archbishop an¬ 
swered, " Good news, I hope, if it please your highness.” " Marry,” 
said the king, " it is so good that I know now who is the greatest 
heretic in Kent,” and with that he pulled out of his sleeve the charges 
against the archbishop and his preachers, and gave them to him to 

When Cranmer had read the articles, and saw himself so venom¬ 
ously attacked, he was much alarmed; but he kneeled before the 
king, and begged him to appoint a commission to try the truth of 
the accusation. " Indeed,” said the king, " I mean to do so, and you 
yourself shall be chief commissioner, joined with two or three more 
that you shall select yourself.” " Then it will be thought,” said the 
archbishop, " that it is not fair, if it please your grace, that I should 
be mine own judge.” But he was appointed in spite of his protest. 

After three weeks, it was seen that nothing could be proved against 

49^ the worths CHRISTIAN MARTYRS. 

Cranmer, and that the whole matter was a conspiracy against the 
archbishop. So the king told the archbishop to name to him a dozen 
or sixteen of his officers and gentlemen, such as had discretion, wis¬ 
dom, and courage; to these he gave orders to search the houses, 
chests, and chambers of all those that were suspected to be of this 
conspiracy, both within the cathedral church and without; and what¬ 
ever writings they could find about them, they were directed to bring 
to the archbishop and the king. These men went immediately to 
the guilty persons’ houses, and within four hours afterwards the 
whole plot was discovered by finding letters, some from the bishop 
of Winchester and others; so that the beginning and end of their 
conspiracy was brought to light. 

Among other papers, two letters came into Cranmer’s hands, 
denouncing him as a heretic; one being from a Dr. Thornton, of 
Dover, and the other from Dr. Barber. These men had both been 
entertained by the archbishop in his house, and were indebted to 
him for many favors, yet they thus ungratefully conspired with Gar¬ 
diner to take away his life. When Cranmer first discovered their 
treacheiy, he took them into his study, and telling them that he had 
been basely and falsely accused by some persons in whom he had 
always put the greatest confidence, asked them to advise him how 
he should punish them. They, not suspecting themselves to be con¬ 
cerned in the question, replied that “ such villains ought to be hanged 
without a trial.” Upon hearing this the archbishop, lifting up his 
hands, cried out, '‘Merciful Heaven! whom can a man now trust?” 
And then, taking out of his bosom the letters by which he had dis¬ 
covered their treachery, he asked them if they knew those papers. 
When they saw their own letters produced against them, they were 
in the utmost confusion ; and falling upon their knees, humbly begged 
for pardon. Cranmer replied that he forgave them; but that they 
must never expect him to trust them any more. 

After the death of king Henry VIII., his son, Edward VI., was 


much under Cranmer’s influence. The friends of the Reformation were 
therefore able to make many changes in the form of worship in Eng¬ 
land. Homilies, and a catechism, were composed by the archbishop; 
Erasmus’ notes on the New Testament were translated, and placed in 
churches; the sacrament was administered in both kinds; and the 
liturgy was read in the English tongue. Ridley, the archbishop’s 
great friend, and one of the most active of the reformers, aided the 
archbishop in drawing up forty-two articles of religion, which were 
revised by other bishops and divines. 

But it was only for a short time the reform party had the upper 
hand. Edward died after a reign of only six years; and the men who 
had been most active in bringing about the changes became marks for 
persecution. In Cranmer’s case political reasons also aided to bring 
about his fall. As told before, Edward was persuaded, by the duke of 
Northumberland to bequeath his crown to the duke’s own daughter-in- 
law, the Lady Jane Grey. This change from the will of his father ex¬ 
cluded the king’s two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, from the throne. 

It is said that archbishop Cranmer at first opposed the alteration 
in the succession ; but the will was made, and signed by the council 
and the judges. Cranmer was sent for, last of all, and asked to sign. 
He, at first, said he could not do so without breaking his oath, made 
during the time of Henry VIII., to uphold the two princesses, Mary 
and Elizabeth, with Edward their brother, as rightful heirs to the crown. 
However, he signed the will with the others, and joined the party which 
gave the unfortunate Lady Jane her short-lived power. 

Queen Mary was soon raised to the throne, and Cranmer could 
then expect nothing but what followed—arrest, imprisonment, and 
finally death. He was promptly condemned for treason, and, with 
pretended clemency, pardoned. But to gratify Gardiner’s malice, and 
Mary’s own bitter hatred of him for the active part he had taken in aid¬ 
ing Henry VIII. to divorce her mother, she had him accused of heresy. 
Cranmer’s friends, who foresaw the storm, advised him to take refuge in 



Germany; but he, either not realizing the extent of the danger, or 
determining to face it, refused to go. He was soon arrested and sent 
to the Tower, which was then crowded with prisoners. 

Cranmer was confined in a small cell with Ridley, Latimer, and 
Bradford. After a time Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer were taken 
from the Tower to Windsor, and from there to Oxford, to defend 
themselves before a commission made up of prominent men from 
Oxford and Cambridge universities. But their fate was already deter¬ 
mined before the trial. Cranmer as well as the others were pro¬ 
nounced heretics and condemned to die. Cranmer’s servants, who 
had until this time attended to his wants as well as they were able, 
were sent away, and he was confined alone, in the common jail at 

But as it was necessaiy to obtain the pope’s approval, to make the 
sentence legal, a new commission was sent the next year from Rome, 
and in St. Mary’s church, at the high altar, the court sat, and tried the 
already condemned Cranmer. After this, bishop Bonner and bishop 
Thurlby came from London empowered to proceed with the so-called 
degradation of the archbishop. When they came to Oxford, Cranmer 
was brought before them, and they read to him their warrant from the 
pope. In this the prisoner was declared disobedient for not appearing 
at Rome in person, to answer the charges against him—though the 
bishops themselves had kept him locked up in prison in England. The 
warrant also stated that the case had been impartially tried at Rome; 
the witnesses on both sides examined, and the archbishop’s own 
counsel allowed to make the best defence for him he could. 

“ Oh,” said Cranmer upon hearing this, “ what lies are these !—that 
I, being continually in prison and never permitted to have any counsel 
or defender at home, should be expected to appear myself and appoint 
counsel at Rome!” 

When Bonner had finished his reading, they proceeded to degrade 
Cranmer. To make him an object of derision, the priestly habit 


whicli they put on him, instead of the usual rich and costly fabrics 
was made of old and ragged vestments. Bonner, in the meantime, by 
way of insult and mockery, addressed him as “ Master Canterbury,” 
and the like. This ceremony being done, they put on him a tattered 
coat and breeches such as a poor laborer might wear, and sent him 
back to prison. There Cranmer was kept entirely without comforts, 
and secluded from his friends. Such even was the watchfulness of 
his enemies, that a sympathizing person was taken into custody by 
Bonner, and narrowly escaped a trial, for sending Cranmer a sum 
of money to purchase necessaries. 

Cranmer was confined in different prisons for nearly three years. 
He heard of the martyrdom of his fellow prisoners, Ridley and Lati¬ 
mer, but his own punishment was still delayed. Meanwhile every 
effort was made to persuade him to recant. As if to try what effect 
gentle methods would have, they removed him from his prison to the 
lodgings of the dean of Christchurch, where they used every per¬ 
suasive argument to make him turn from his faith. Angered at his 
refusal, they removed him from the dean's lodgings to the most dis¬ 
mal part of the prison in which he had been confined before, and there 
treated him with great harshness. The spirit of the old man was not 
proof against these hardships, and he soon agreed to sign an abject 
form of recantation, of which the following is a part: 

I, Thomas Cranmer, late archbishop of Canterbur^^, do renounce, 
abhor, and detest, all manner of heresies and errors of Luther and 
Zuinglius, and all other teachings which are contrary to sound and 
true doctrine. And I believe most constantly in my heart, and with 
my mouth I confess one holy and catholic church visible, without 
which there is no salvation; and thereof I acknowledge the bishop of 
Rome to be supreme head on earth, whom I acknowledge to be the 
^ highest bishop and pope, and Christ’s vicar, unto whom all Christian 
people should be subject. 

“And I submit myself to the church and to the supreme head 



thereof, and to their most excellent majesties Philip and Mary, king 
and queen of this realm of England, and to all other their laws and 
ordinances; being ready always as a faithful subject ever to obey them. 
And God is my witness, that I have not done this for favor or fear of 
any person, but willingly and of mine own conscience, and to the in¬ 
struction of others.” 

This recantation of the archbishop was immediately printed, and 
scattered throughout the country. As proof that it was genuine, first 
was signed to it the name of Thomas Cranmer, and then followed the 
names of the witnesses of his signature, Henry Sydal and friar John 
de Villa Garcina. 

As further demands were made, from time to time, upon the fallen 
archbishop, other equally humble confessions of error, and appeals for 
pardon, were made and signed by him. No form seemed too abject for 
him. But all this time Cranmer had no positive assurance that his life 
would be spared, although it is probable that hope was held out to him. 
After they had gained their purpose, little heed was paid to the ultimate 
fate of the prisoner. So it came to pass that the queen, who had never 
wavered in her determination to revenge herself upon him for the active 
part he had taken in divorcing her mother, received his several re¬ 
cantations very graciously, but did not make any change in her plans 
for his burning. 

Accordingly, after Mary had held a secret council with her min¬ 
isters, the day was appointed for Cranmer’s execution—the 21st of 
March, 1556. It was determined, however, that he should first be com¬ 
pelled to publicly read his recantation to the people. So the Spanish 
friar John de Villa Garcina, one of the witnesses to the paper, was sent 
to the prisoner to require him to make a copy of it and keep it by him. 
Cranmer made the copy, but suspecting the use he would be expected 
to make of it, and seeing that the time had passed when further denials 
of his real faith would save him from the fire, he wrote out another 
paper, withdrawing his recantation, and declaring his entire devotion 



to the rcfonnccl faith. 7 'his he hid in his bosom, intending to use it 
at the proper time. 

Cranmer’s Last Address to the People. 

When the day came, Lord Williams, Sir Thomas Bridges, Sir John 
Brown, and other justices, and noblemen of the queen s council, went 
to Oxford with a train of followers. A great crowd of people from 
the surrounding country had also assembled there. Some expected to 
hear Cranmer confess himself a humble convert to Rome, while others, 
among whom were many of his former friends, hoped that the arch¬ 
bishop, who had spent a long life in study, and in preaching the gospel 
of Christ, would not now desert them, as the last act of his career. 

The excitement was at its height when Cranmer was seen, being led 
between two friars, from his prison to St. Mary’s church. Before him 
walked the mayor of Oxford, and next came the aldermen of the city. 
When they had come into the church, Cranmer was told to mount 
upon a platform which had been built near the pulpit. As he stood 
there in full view of the curious multitude which filled the church, he 
presented a sorrowful spectacle to every eye not blinded by passion or 
prejudice. For he who had lately been archbishop, metropolitan, and 
primate of all England, and the king’s privy councillor, was now in 
a threadbare and ragged gown, with an old square cap on his head, a 
mark for the contempt of all men. Few there were who did not pity 
him, or scarce one who might not fear his own future fate, to see so 
eminent a prelate, so grave a counsellor, one who had been so long 
honored, thus deprived in his old age of his estate, and condemned 
to die so painful a death. 

Standing there in his ragged gown the poor prisoner turned his face 
toward a stone pillar, and lifting up his hands to heaven, prayed earn¬ 
estly to God. The priest who had been appointed to preach the ser-- 
mon upon this occasion was a certain Dr. Cole, who now went up into 
the pulpit and commenced his discourse. He soon began to reproach 



Cranmer, with many bitter words, as “ one who had fallen into per¬ 
nicious error, and who had not only defended the same by his writings, 
and all his powers, but also allured other men to do the like/' 

The sermon continued at some length. At its close the speaker 
urged the prisoner, Cranmer, to go to his death in a humble and con¬ 
trite spirit; and gave thanks to God that, although his repentance 
had been slow, it had been sincere, and that he had at last shown, 
by signing the recantation, that he had turned from his abominable 
errors and become a penitent convert to the true faith. All this time 
Cranmer stood upon the platform, now lifting up his hands and eyes 
to heaven, and then again, as if ashamed, letting them down toward 
the earth. Several times the tears were seen to fall from his eyes and 
his whole expression betokened shame and grief 

After Cole had finished speaking, the people began to go out, but 
he stopped them, by calling out: “ Brethren, lest any man should doubt 
the prisoner’s conversion and repentance, you shall hear him speak 
for himself Now I pray you. Master Cranmer, do that which you 
promised, and publicly acknowledge the true profession of your faith, 
that you may take away all suspicion, and that every person here 
present may know you are a Catholic indeed.” 

“ I will do it,” said the archbishop, “ and that with a right good will.” 
Then putting off his cap, he spoke, in part, as follows: “ Good people, 
my dearly beloved brethren and sisters in Christ, I beseech you most 
heartily to pray for me to Almighty God, that he will forgive all my sins 
and offences, which be many without number, and great above measure. 
But yet one thing grieveth my conscience more than all the rest, 
whereof, God willing, I intend to speak more hereafter. But how 
great and how many soever my sins be, I beseech you to pray to God 
of his mercy to pardon and forgive them all.” 

And here kneeling down, Cranmer prayed for a while, and then 
rising said: “ And now as I am come to the last end of my life on 
earth, and am near to beginning the life to come, either to live with 


my master Christ for ev^er in joy, or else to be in pain for ever in hell, 
I shall therefore declare urto you my true faith without any deception ; 
for this is not the time to deceive, no matter what I may have said or 
written in times past/’ 

“ First, I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and 
earth. And I believe every article of the Christian faith, every word 
and sentence taught by our Saviour Christ; his apostles; and the 
prophets, in the New and Old Testament.” 

“ And now I come to the great thing which so much troublcth my 
conscience, more than any thing that ever I did or said in my whole 
life, and that is the scattering abroad of a writing contrary to the truth ; 
which I now here renounce and refuse, as things written with my hand 
contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear 
of death, and to save my life. And I renounce as false and untrue all 
such papers signed with my hand since my degradation, wherein I 
have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand hath 
offended, writing contrary to my heart, therefore this my hand shall first 
be punished; for when I come to the fire, it shall first be burned.” 

“ And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy and antichrist, 
with all his false doctrine. And as for the sacrament, I believe as I 
have taught in my book against the bishop of Winchester, which book 
teacheth so true a doctrine of the sacrament, that I believe it shall 
stand even to the last day.” 

Disappointment of Cranmer’s Enemies. 

On hearing this bold declaration of faith, the greater part of the 
people were amazed and looked upon one another in astonishment. 
But if the common people were surprised, the priests and doctors 
whose plans had so notably failed, were doubly so—and infuriated as 
well. For they had confidently expected to triumph over the reformers 
by being able to point forever after to the public recantation of their 
leader. But instead of a humble plea for forgiveness, he had boldly 

^04 The wokLHS CHkisTiAM MAkrvks, 

withdrawn all his former denials and avowed himself unshaken in his 

Then Cranmer’s foes began to storm and rage against him; some 
plucked him by the gown before he could finish his address, and 
called him “Traitor!” reminding him of his former recantation. But 
this was useless, as they very well knew. No threats could harm 
a man already condemned to be burned—he could die but once. For 
all that, they never ceased to cry out against him, for what they termed 
his falsehood and deceit. 

To these accusations, Cranmer replied: “ Ah, my masters, do not 
take it so. Always have I been a hater of falsehood, and a lover of 
truth, and never, but for dread of the stake, would I have dissembled 
and when he said this, the tears showed in his eyes. Then he began 
to speak more of the sacrament and of the pope, but some of them 
began to cry out, “ Stop the heretic’s mouth, and take him away.” 

Then was Cranmer pulled down from the platform, and led to the 
fire, accompanied by two Spanish friars. “ What madness,” said they, 
“ hath brought thee again into this error, by which thou wilt draw 
many souls with thee into hell?” To them he answered nothing, but 
addressed all his talk to the people. In a little while he came to the 
stake: it was the place .where the martyrs, Latimer and Ridley, had 
been burned, and there kneeling down he prayed to God. But not 
tarrying long at his prayers, he arose, and taking off his garments to 
his shirt, he prepared himself for death. His shirt was made long, 
down to his feet, which were bare. His face, haggard from long 
imprisonment, was covered by a beard, and his reverend countenance 
moved the hearts of both his friends and enemies. 

Then the Spanish friars, of whom mention has been made before, 
began to urge him again to recant, but Cranmer with steadfast pur¬ 
pose refused to listen, turning from them and giving his hand to certain 
old men, and others that stood by, bidding them farewell. But when he 
offered his hand to one of these men, whose name was K\y, Ely drew 


5 o 6 


back his hand, saying “ it was not lawful to take the hand of a heretic, 
and especially such a one as falsely returned unto the opinions that he 
had forsworn/’ This Ely was a student of divinity in the college at 

Soon an iron chain was brought, and put around Cranmer, fasten¬ 
ing him to the stake. Then when the fagots had been piled up the 
sheriff ordered fire to be brought. And when the wood was kindled, 
and the fire began to burn near him, he was seen by all who stood 
there, to stretch forth his right hand, with which he had signed his 
recantations, and to hold it in the flames. There he held it so 
unflinchingly that all the people saw it burned, before his body was 
touched by the fire. So patient and steadfast was he in the midst of 
this extreme torment, that he uttered no cry, and seemed to move no 
more than the stake to which he was bound. His eyes were lifted up 
to heaven, and often he repeated, “ This was the hand that wrote it,” 
—“ this unworthy right hand,” so long as his voice would suffer him ; 
and as often using the words of the martyred St. Stephen, “ Lord Jesus, 
receive my spirit!” till the fury of the flames putting him to silence, he 
gave up the ghost. 

Thus died Thomas Cranmer, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. 
That he was a man of unusual abilities is shown by the high station 
he attained. The changes in the forms of worship in the reign of 
Edward VI. were chiefly due to him. It was his voice that men 
heard, and still hear, in the words of the English liturgy, which he 
compiled at Oxford. At the last the moral weakness which he had 
shown in signing his recantations was atoned for by one of the most 
strikingly heroic acts recorded of the martyrs. 

An eminent historian has, therefore, truly said, “ Cranmer’s very 
weakness proved a means of moving thousands who had been less 
affected by the sufferings of more heroic spirits. It is a fellow feeling 
that draws men’s sympathies, and for one man who felt within him 
the joy of Rowland Taylor at the prospect of the stake, there were 




thousands who felt the shuddering dread of Cranmer, The trium¬ 
phant cry of Latimer could reach hearts only as bold as his own; but 
the sad scene of Cranmer’s humiliation and repentence brought pity 
to the hearts of all.” 

Account of Richard and Thomas Spurg, John Cavill, George 
Ambrose, Rev. Robert Drake, and Rev. William Tims. 

These six men lived in the county of Essex. Being accused of 
heresy, they were all arrested, and sent by Lord Rich and other com¬ 
missioners up to London, to bishop Gardiner, who after a short exam¬ 
ination sent the four first named to the Marshalsea prison, and the 
two last to the King’s Bench. 

After having been confined a year they were all brought into the 
consistory court, in St. Paul’s church, before the bishop of London, to 
be examined. Bonner began his examination with Tims, whom he 
called the ringleader, telling him he had taught the others heresies, 
and tried, as far as in him lay, to make them as guilty as himself. 
After talking in this strain for a while, the bishop asked Tims what he 
had to say in his own defence, demanding whether he would submit 
himself to the church—promising that if he did, he would be kindly 
received; but threatening, if he did not, to pronounce judgment 
against him as a heretic. 

In answer to this, Tims reminded bishop Bonner that he himself 
had formerly given up that very church which he now professed such 
love for. He pointed out that during the reign of Henry VIII. Bon¬ 
ner had spoken with great force and eloquence against the usurped 
power of the pope, though he was now sending men to the stake, 
because they would not acknowledge the pope to be the supreme 
head of the church. 

Bonner asked, “ What have I written against the church ?” Tims 
answered, “ The late bishop of Winchester wrote a book against the 
papal supremacy, and for that book you wrote a preface, reproving the 



pope’s tyranny and usurpation, and showing that his power was ill- 
founded, and contrary both to the will of God and the real interest of 

As this was the exact truth, Bonner for once had nothing to say. 
However, soon recovering himself, he explained that the book and 
preface had been written not from disrespect to his holiness, but be¬ 
cause it was then deemed treason by the laws of England to maintain 
the pope’s authority in England. He also said, at that time it was dan¬ 
gerous to profess to favor the church of Rome, and therefore common 
prudence compelled men to seem to oppose it. But now, since queen 
Mary’s happy accession to the throne, they might boldly speak accord¬ 
ing to their consciences. The bishop further reminded Tims, that as the 
bishop of Winchester was not ashamed to recant his errors at St Paul’s 
cross, and as Bonner himself had done the same, every inferior clergyman 
should follow their example. But Tims still defended his own conduct 
and said, My lord, that which you have written against the supremacy 
of the pope, can be well proved from Scripture to be true; but that 
which you now do is contrary to the word of God, as I can show.” 

At this Bonner cried out against Tims as an “ obstinate heretic,” 
and at once began to read his sentence; after which he delivered him 
over to the sheriff’s officers. 

Drake’s trial came next. He frankly declared that he denied the 
authority of the pope, and that no persuasion could change him. 
Bonner had found the replies of the first prisoner, Tims, so little to 
his liking that he spent no time in arguing with Drake, but at once 
pronounced sentence of condemnation, and delivered him into the 
custody of the sheriffs. 

The four remaining prisoners, Thomas and Richard Spurg, George 
Ambrose, and John Cavill, were then asked if they would forsake their 
heresies, and return to the church. They all refused to acknowledge 
any wrong-doing, and declined to change their belief Bonner then 
read their several sentences, after which he committed them all to the 



custody of the sheriffs of London, by whom they were taken to New¬ 

On the 14th of April, 1556, the day appointed for their execution, 
the six men were taken to Smithfield, where they were chained to the 
same stake, and burned in one fire. They patiently submitted them¬ 
selves to the flames, and quietly resigned their souls to that Redeemer 
for whose sake they had given their bodies to be burned. 

Account of Hugh Laverock, a Cripple; and John Apprice, a 

Blind Man. 

Hugh Laverock was a painter by trade. He lived in the parish of 
Barking, in Essex. At the time of his arrest he was in the sixty-eighth 
year of his age, and very infirm. Being, however, accused of heresy 
by some of his neighbors, he and John Apprice, a poor blind man, 
were taken before Bonner to be examined. 

Bonner asked the prisoners the usual questions, to which they an¬ 
swered without making the slightest effort to conceal their opinions. 
The next day they were both brought into the consistory court at St. 
Paul’s, where the questions and answers were publicly read; after 
which the bishop endeavored to persuade them to change their belief. 
But Hugh Laverock declared that by the grace of God he would con¬ 
tinue in the profession he had already made; and John Apprice, the 
blind man, answered in like manner. 

The two prisoners were ordered to appear the next day at the 
bishop’s palace at Fulham. Having been taken there, the bishop, 
after some talk with them, finding them firm in their faith, pro¬ 
nounced the final sentence, and they were sent to Newgate. 

One week after they had been sentenced, they were taken to Strat- 
ford-le-Bow, the place appointed for their execution. As soon as they 
arrived at the stake. Laverock threw away his crutch, and thus ad¬ 
dressed his fellow sufferer: 

“ Be of good comfort, brother, for the bishop of London is our 



^ood physician : he will cure us both shortly, thee of thy blindness 
and me of my lameness.” Then they both knelt down and prayed 
earnestly that God would enable them to pass, with Christian reso¬ 
lution, through the fiery trial. 

These two poor old men, one a cripple and the other blind, were 
then chained to one stake, and the fagots lighted. They endured their 
sufferings with great fortitude, and cheerfully yielded up their lives for 
their faith. 

Burning of Three Women; Catherine Hut, Joan Hornes, and 
Elizabeth Thackvill. 

These three women were ’arrested on suspicion of heresy, and 
taken before Sir John Mordaunt and Mr. Tyrrel, justices of the 
peace for the county of Essex. After a hearing they were sent pris¬ 
oners to the bishop of London, for refusing to attend the services of 
the Romish church. 

The three prisoners were brought before the bishop, and he asked 
them the questions prepared for such occasions; to which they replied 
acknowledging their belief in the reformed faith. Refusing to recant 
they were sentenced to be burned, and were delivered over to the 
sheriff of London, who put them in Newgate prison, where they re¬ 
mained until the time they were to suffer. 

On the day appointed for their execution, they were carried to 
Smithfield—when they were all fastened to one stake, and the fagots 
lighted, amid the flames of which they were quickly consumed. 

Account of the Arrest, Trial, and Execution of Eleven Men 

AND Two Women. 

Thirteen persons who lived in the county of Essex, England, were 
arrested in May, 1556, and sent to London to be examined by bishop 
Bonner. Their names were as follows : Ralph Jackson, Heniy Adling- 
ton, Lyon Cawch, William Halliwell, George Searles, John Routh, 



John Derifall, Henry Wye, Edmund Hurst, Laurence Parnam, Thomas 
Bower, Elizabeth Pepper, and Agnes George. 

Being all brought together before Dr. Darbyshire, the bishop’s 
chancellor, he called upon each of them, separately, to answer the 
usual set of questions prepared for persons suspected of heresy. All 
answered boldly; not one of them denied that he believed in the re¬ 
formed religion. Even the two women refused to save their lives by 
changing their faith. Sentence of condemnation was therefore pro¬ 
nounced upon all of them, and they were put in charge of the sheriff, 
who took them to Newgate prison. 

On the Sunday after their condemnation. Dr. Fecknam, dean of St. 
Paul’s, said, in his sermon, that “ the thirteen prisoners held as many 
different beliefs as there were faces among the whole.” This being 
reported to them, they drew up one confession of faith, to which they 
signed their names, so that all men might know they were of the one 
religion, and for that religion were willing to die. 

Early on the morning of the 28th of June, 1556, the day appointed 
for their execution, they were taken from Newgate to Stratford-le-Bow, 
the place where they were to suffer. When they had come there, the 
sheriff tried by a stratagem to win them over. He divided them into 
two companies, and placed them in separate rooms. This done, he went 
to one of the companies, and told them the others had recanted, by 
which means their lives had been saved. He advised the others to 
follow their example, and not cast themselves away by continuing 

But his appeal had no effect on the little band, and when the sheriff 
saw this he made no further attempt to persuade them to change from 
the faith they loved. They were brought out and all led together 
to the place where the stakes had been set up. 

The eleven men were tied to three stakes, but the two women 
were in the middle, not tied to any stake—being in the midst of the 
fagots. So they were all burned together in one fire; and it is told 




of them, that such was their love'' to each other, and constancy in 
their Saviour Christ, that it made all the lookers-on to marvel/’ 

Account of the Trials and Executions of Julius Palmer, John 
Gwin, and Thomas Askine. 

Julius Palmer was the son of a merchant of excellent reputation, 
living in the city of Coventry. He received his early education at the 
public school of that place; after which he was sent to Oxford, where 
he graduated, and afterward was elected a fellow of Magdalene college, 
Oxford university. 

As Palmer had been brought up a Romanist, he refused to conform 
to the religious changes made in the time of Edward VI.; for which 
he was expelled from the college, and for some time supported him¬ 
self by keeping a school at Oxford. On the accession of queen 
Mary, commissioners were sent to Magdalene college, to displace such 
officials as refused to acknowledge the pope. Palmer availed himself 
of this opportunity, and succeeded in getting back his fellowship. 

It happened, however, during the time Palmer had been away 
from college, he had made the acquaintance of several leaders of 
the reformed party, and was so much impressed by their arguments 
that he began to doubt, himself, whether obedience to Rome was a 
necessary part of Christianity. When the persecution began, being a 
humane man, he became still more unsettled in his belief, and inquired, 
very particularly, into the cause of persons being arrested, the nature 
of the charges upon which they were condemned, the manner of their 
treatment, and their behavior at the time of their burning. So anxious 
was he to become fully informed on the subject, that he sent one of 
his pupils from Oxford to Gloucester, to see bishop Hooper’s execu¬ 
tion, and to bring him a full description of the dreadful scene. 

Before this event Palmer was inclined to think that very few men 
would brave the fire for the sake of their religion. But when he had 
heard of Hooper’s heroism, and been present at the examination of 



bishops Ridley and Latimer—an eye-witness of their faith, patience, 
and fortitude, even unto death—these scenes brought about an entire 
change in his belief. On his return from the scene of this execution, 
he was heard to say, “ O raging cruelty! O barbarous tyranny 
From that very day he applied himself most earnestly to the study 
of the Scriptures, and at length became as zealous a worker in the 
ranks of the reformers as he had before been an opposer of them. 

Palmer now began to absent himself from mass and other cere¬ 
monies of the church, but finding that his absence on these occasions 
caused many to suspect him, and desiring to avoid arrest, he resigned 
his fellowship. On his leaving the college, his friends got him a place 
as teacher in the grammar-school at Reading, in Berkshire; where he 
was much liked for the great pains he took with his pupils, and for 
his earnest Christian character. 

But in course of time, some false friends gained Palmer’s confidence; 
and as he was a man of frank and open temper, he freely declared to 
them his religious belief This was reported to his enemies, who 
caused his library to be searched for heretical books, and finding some 
writings, both in Latin and English, which denounced religious perse¬ 
cution, they threatened to lay them before the queen’s commissioners, 
unless he would quietly resign his place to a friend of their own. 
Palmer fearing imprisonment and even death if he refused, hastily 
fled from Reading, leaving behind him all his belongings, as well 
as the salary that was due him. 

Being thus entirely destitute. Palmer went to Evesham, in Worces¬ 
tershire, where his mother lived, hoping to obtain from her a legacy, 
which his father had left him at the time of his death four years before. 
But his mother was a heartless and bigoted woman, who hated the 
reformers, and dreaded above all things being accused of harboring 
^ heretics. She cared but little for her son, who had long been absent 
from home, and she had listened to the accounts brought about him 
with strong disapproval. 

5 i 6 


As soon as Palmer’s mother saw him standing at her door, needy 
and forlorn, she motioned to him to go away, addressing him in these 
bitter words : Get thee gone, heretic ! Get thee gone!” 

At first. Palmer was so amazed at this unexpected repulse from his 
own mother, that he could make no reply. But after he had collected 
himself a little, he said, “ O mother, I have riot deserved this!” His 
unnatural parent then cried, “ Thou hast been banished for a heretic 
from thy fellowship at Oxford, and for the like knavery hast thou been 
expelled from Reading too.” 

“Alas! mother,” returned Julius, “you have listened to false reports 
about me. I was not expelled from the college at Oxford, but I freely 
resigned my fellowship there. Heretic I am none, for I oppose not the 
true doctrine, but defend it with all my power.” His mother then 
bitterly reproached him for not believing as his father and forefathers 
had done, and ordered him again to depart from the house, and never 
to call her his mother again, telling him at the same time, that he had 
no property there, either in money or goods, as his father had left 
nothing to heretics. 

Palmer, finding that it was useless to look for aid or shelter there, 
turned sadly away. He was now homeless and destitute; and did not 
know where to get his next meal. At last, despairing of any other 
means of subsistence, he determined to return secretly to Magdalene 
college, depending on the fidelity of a few friends he had left in that 
house. He accordingly went there, and, through the kindness of 
one of them, named Allen Cope, a fellow of the college, he obtained 
the promise of a place as master of a school in Gloucestershire. 

Before going to Gloucestershire Palmer determined to travel quiet¬ 
ly to Reading, to try if he could get the salary due him, and at the 
same time sell the goods he had left there. But no sooner had lie 
reached Reading, than his old enemies heard of his coming, and sent 
a man named Hampton, who had formerly professed himself a Protes¬ 
tant, but who was, in reality, a spy, to find out the cause of his return. 


5 i 8 


So Hampton, glad to play the traitor, went to see Palmer, who in 
his usual open-hearted and unsuspicious manner told him all his plans. 
His enemies were at once informed; they caused his arrest that very 
night, and he was taken to prison, where he remained ten days in the 
custody of a brutal jailer. 

Palmer was then brought before the mayor of Reading for a hearing. 
In the course of his examination they extorted from him an acknow¬ 
ledgement of his faith, and proceeded against him for heresy. Charges 
were drawn up, and sent to Dr. Jeffrey at Newbery, who was to hold 
his court there on the Thursday following. The next day Palmer was 
taken to Newbery, together with one Thomas Askine, who also had 
been in prison for some time on account of his religion. Immediately 
on their arrival they were put in the Blind-house prison, where they 
found one John Gwin, who was also confined there for being of the 
reformed faith. 

When Palmer was brought into court. Dr. Jeffrey, in the presence 
of several hundred spectators, said to him, “ Master Palmer, we have 
received certain charges against you from the right worshipful the 
mayor of Reading, and other justices, whereby we understand that, 
being brought before them, you were convicted of certain heresies. 
You deny the supremacy of the pope’s holiness; you say that the 
priest showeth up an idol at mass, and therefore you went to no mass 
since your first coming to Reading; you hold there is no purgatory; 
you are also charged with sowing sedition, and seeking to divide the 
unity of the queen’s subjects.” Several books and pamphlets were 
then produced, and Palmer was asked if he were the author of them. 
He replied that he was, and declared at the same time that they con¬ 
tained nothing but truths founded on the Bible. 

Dr. Jeffrey, angered at Palmer’s boldness, began to threaten him, 
and said he would soon find a way to make him recant his damnable 
errors and heresies. But Palmer told him, that if he and all his friends 
should exert their utmost efforts, they would not be able to make him